Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. This includes people with congenital diseases or defects such as pulmonary atresia as well as people who develop heart disease because of their lifestyle choices. Depending on the disease or disorder, treatment can consist of medication, nutrition and physical therapy, and surgery. If your health care provider has determined that surgical intervention is needed to correct or improve your heart condition, then you must make sure you are fully prepared when it is time to go under the knife. This includes asking plenty of questions about your condition, what heart surgery hopes to correct, and the risks involved.
Once you feel comfortable with having the surgery, it is usually scheduled out a few weeks in advanced so you can make the appropriate preparations. During this time it is a good idea to quit smoking as it can impair your ability to heal. Additionally, it puts you at a greater risk of developing pneumonia and heart related complications after heart surgery. It is recommended that you quick smoking a minimum of three weeks prior. Alcohol consumption should also be discontinued at least two days before your scheduled surgery. It is also a good idea to maintain a balanced heart healthy diet. However, you should not eat or drink anything past midnight the day of your surgery.
You should also stop taking blood thinners, like Coumadin or aspirin, about 4-5 days before your scheduled surgery. It is best to consult with your doctor about other medications you may be taking especially if you are diabetic. Be certain to get plenty of rest. If you develop a cold, fever, infection, or type of illness contact your physician as soon as possible to determine how this will affect your heart surgery. Avoid taking over the counter medications until your doctor instructs you to do so.
If your insurance company requires it get your heart surgery and hospital stay pre-certified. The last thing you want is to wake up to an intense hospital bill. Although most surgeries are connected with minimal problems it is still a good idea to make sure your will is up to date. You should also have a living will, or health care proxy, established and provide medical facility with a copy of the relevant paperwork. Additionally, be certain the hospital has the name and number of a reliable emergency contact they call if anything goes wrong.