Recovery Information

Your Road to Recovery

Dr. Gerndt explains what will happen after your open heart surgery and the after care to help you succeed with your recovery.

It is common within the first four weeks after major surgical procedures to experience:

  • Poor appetite or no taste for food
  • Constant or intermittent lack of energy
  • Mild depression or mood swings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of motivation
  • Numbness at or near surgical incisions
  • Mild shortness of breath

Gradual improvement of these symptoms is an indication you are recovering normally. It is important to eat small meals often during this period, and take in enough fluids to stay hydrated. A good rule of thumb is: if you urinate a normal amount three times a day or more, you are probably taking enough fluids.

You are encouraged to take two 15-20 minute walks a day, if possible. The exercise will stimulate your appetite and help you rest at night. Avoiding long naps during the day will also help with sleeping at night.

After heart surgery, it takes about four weeks for the appetite to return to normal and 3-4 months to completely recover. Patients with uncomplicated recovery may return to driving two weeks from the day of discharge after surgery as long as you are not taking prescription pain medicines.