"While not experienced by all patients, becoming depressed after surgery is a fairly common event. Depression following hospitalization and cardiac surgery has been linked to the development of new cardiac complications. Based on our research findings, we can offer some common-sense approaches to combat depression."—Janey Peterson, RN, MA
Be aware: Left untreated, depression can become a serious health problem. You and your caregivers should be mindful of changes in mood and realize that you may become depressed after the operation.
Don't forget social support: We see many patients who become cut off from their social networks—bridge clubs, book groups, and golfing partners—once they have surgery. It's important not to close yourself off from people after you go home. These relationships area valuable way to maintain quality of life.
Confidence is key: Patients who do the best after surgery are those who have a good attitude. You had major surgery for a reason: to improve and extend your life. Patients who become proactive and "seize the moment" resume a high quality of life after their operation.
Get professional help: We encourage our patients to seek out help for depression. Often, pharmacologic treatment can be provided by your internist or cardiologist. However, treatment can also be provided by a mental health professional.