Precautions to Take After Open Heart Surgery: What to Expect

Open heart surgery is a big step, and one that requires a lot of time to recover from. But what exactly can you expect from the recovery process, and what changes will you have to make immediately following open heart surgery? Here’s some of what you can expect after your surgery.

Pain and Discomfort

Chest pain

via Jennifer
on LoveIt

It’s normal to feel some amount of pain after open heart surgery; after all, it is major surgery! Pain medication prescribed by your doctor will help. It’s also normal to feel some lingering discomfort along the incision on your sternum, but this will lessen over time. However, if you’re not sure if what you’re feeling is the result of the surgery or something more serious, call your doctor right away to get it checked out.

Back to Work

How soon you can return to work depends on what kind of job you have. Office workers will be able to do so much sooner than those with more physically demanding jobs. The recovery time varies, but most people can begin lifting heavy objects again about 6 weeks after their surgery.

family driving

on LoveIt

It’s best not to drive for around 30 days after your surgery. You want to get over the worst of your soreness and give your chest muscles time to recover before getting behind the wheel. If you feel ready to start driving again sooner, talk to your doctor about it first, and you should never drive when you’ve been taking narcotics or other pain medication.


It’s very important to stay active after having open heart surgery so that your heart can become stronger and healthier. You shouldn’t do any weight lifting or other activities that put pressure on your sternum for at least 6 weeks, but you can begin doing light exercise such as walking as soon as you feel up for it. Just don’t overdo it, especially at first!

Ready for some exercise
on LoveIt

Open heart surgery is a significant life event. If you have any questions about what to expect after this procedure, contact the most experienced heart surgeons in Las Vegas today at (702) 737-3808 to discuss your concerns or schedule a consultation with us.

Leave a reply