What to Expect Post Heart Surgery

Life After Heart Surgery

Heart Surgery One Year LaterIf you or a family member has undergone heart surgery, you may already know what to expect for the days, weeks, and months that lead you into the recovery phase. Usually, your heart surgeon will educate you on the best ways to care for yourself or a family member who is scheduled for a procedure. However, ongoing care is just as crucial as the first phases of recovery to ensure the safest and healthiest outcome. While each case will vary depending on various factors, here is a general idea of what you can expect post heart surgery:

Post Heart Surgery: One Year Follow-up

During your ongoing care check-ups with your surgeon, you will undergo tests that include:

  • Blood tests
  • EKG
  • Stress test
  • Echocardiograms

These are tests that will reveal how your heart is coming along after surgery. Some heart surgeries will require that you take medication for blood-thinning, and if that’s the case, it is routine for your doctor to test that you’re receiving the right amount of medicine as well.


It Takes a Year to Recover from Heart Surgery

The year that follows after heart surgery will consist of rebuilding your chest and back muscles that will be weak from your limited activity during the recovery months. Remember that your bone is knit together but in order to rebuild your strength and allow your nerves to heal, it will take a full year. It is common to feel pressure, pain, or a burning sensation in your chest, especially near the incision during your cardiac rehabilitation stages. Be sure to consult your physician if you’re experiencing discomfort and it will be determined if further testing is needed.


Research has demonstrated that patients who elect to have monitored exercises by a medical professional along with nutritional and psychological counseling are more likely to survive longer than five years than those who don’t partake in cardiac rehab.

A picture of Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD wearing his Mercy One doctor attire.

About the Author

Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD Director is an expert in Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery and Bloodless Heart Surgery is the outcome of his commitment to the development and improvement of both of these techniques. He runs a Cardiothoracic Surgery practice and manages Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program where he cares for patients from all over the country and locally. Click here to learn more about Dr. Ciuffo.

Board Certified:
American Board of Surgery
American Board of Thoracic Surgery