Q&A: Recovering from Heart Surgery

In addition to joint replacement and broken bone repair, heart surgery is one of the most common medical procedures performed each year. While practicing a heart healthy lifestyle to avoid the need for surgery is the number one priority for many patients, they should also understand what surgery involves and the recovery process. Dr. Frederick Meadors, a cardiovascular surgeon with the CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute, answers some common questions about heart surgery and what’s involved in a successful recovery.

How important is the recovery process after heart surgery?

“Without a good recovery, we can’t have a good outcome. We are constantly looking at things that can sabotage recovery so we can put our patients in the best opportunity for a successful recovery.”

How does recovery from heart surgery differ in men and women?

“Operating on women can be a tedious operation because their arteries are often smaller, but women are tough and they often bounce right out of the chair and get going. For men and women both, it all comes down to following directions and taking medicine. If patients do those things, they can live a long time after surgery.”

What is unique about CHI St. Vincent’s approach to recovery?

“We take a more focused approach to the pre-operative evaluation of our patients and we’ve taken a pledge to start this race with the finish line in mind. Blindly going through that evaluation process will lead to disappointing outcomes.”

How does CHI St. Vincent’s team approach to heart care help patients with recovery?

“Our whole team is focused on putting patients in the best possible circumstances. We couldn’t do that without our anesthesiologists, nurses, ICU team and all of the other specialists that work together here. We do a good job operating, but that’s only part of the story.”

To learn more about heart and chest surgery options at the CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute, including minimally invasive procedures, visit: chistvincent.com/heart