Heart Surgeries

How long will it take me to recover from aortic surgery?

A Answers (1)

  • AAllan Stewart, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgery, answered on behalf of Columbia University Department of Surgery

    Recovery time is variable. A rule of thumb is that if you come to the hospital healthy, you will recover faster than if you arrive sick. Patients with an aortic aneurysm are generally otherwise healthy and can withstand surgery without a significant recovery time. In all cases, patients should sleep prior to surgery and arrive rested. We can provide sleep aids to assist in this process. It is also useful to look at a major heart operation like an endurance race. The meal on the evening before surgery should be rich in carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes, etc)

    Most patients will remain in the hospital for five to seven days. You will then go home and feel tired for a week or two. Afterwards you will feel relatively normal. It takes six weeks before the sternum is completely healed, so heavy lifting during that time is not permitted. During the recovery time, it is quite normal to be aware of your heartbeat. Your heart becomes temporarily attached to your breastbone, which then transmits sound through the bones of your ear. It is normal and can be alleviated by purchasing a sound diffuser.

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