It is a major procedure, to say the least, and it’s normal to worry or feel anxious - even downright scared - about your loved one having this surgery. Taking the time to talk thoroughly with the cardiologist and get your concerns resolved is essential because knowing relieves much of the burden. They can provide you with information and resources to better understand what’s about to happen, as well as what to expect in the day, weeks, months, and years after. They can also guide you and your loved one on actions to avoid complications and have the best possible outcome.
Take a few minutes to write down your own questions, though use the suggestions below as prompts to help with what you want to ask.
Things to know before surgery:
- Why is this procedure the best treatment option?
- What are the benefits and risks?
- Does my loved one's health history raise any special concerns about complications?
- If my loved one didn’t have the surgery, will the condition stay the same or get worse?
- How soon does my loved one need to have the procedure?
- Can my loved one get help with making lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, adopting a heart-healthy diet, and exercising?
Things to know upon scheduling surgery (pre-op):
- What will need to be done in the weeks, days, and hours leading up to the surgery?
- How long do you expect the surgery to last?
- Can you tell us about the incisions and when they will heal?
- How quick or long is recovery?
- What can we do to prepare for the surgery so that my loved one has a successful operation and recovery?
- Will they be referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program?
Things to know after surgery:
- How long is the hospital stay?
- How much help will my loved one need after discharge from the hospital?
- Will there be new medications and, if so, for how long?
- When does cardiac rehab start and how much time will it require?
- How long before my loved one can drive? Travel?
- How long until normal daily activities can be resumed?
- Will we get wound care instructions for the incisions?
- How will we recognize signs of infection or other complications?
- When do we call you?
- When do we call 9-1-1?
- What is the follow-up appointment schedule?
- What are the extra supplies or devices we should have at home?