Questions if you are considering a heart surgery!

October 13, 2012

What to ask your cardiologist…

  • What   is coronary artery disease? How many heart vessels are blocked?

  • What   are my treatment options and what are the risks and benefits of each?

  • Why   are you recommending this treatment over the others?

  • What   lifestyle changes will I need to make and what community resources are   available to help?

  • If   I decide not to have open-heart surgery, will you support my decision?

  • Will   I be given some time to put my affairs in order prior to the heart surgery?

  • Should   I complete an Advance Directive?

  • Should   I avoid caffeine and other stimulants for 48 hours prior to surgery?

  • (If   diabetic) How often should I be monitoring my blood sugar?

  • If   I opt to have surgery, will I need to take medication afterwards? If so, for   how long?

What to ask your heart surgeon…

  • What   are the risks and complications associated with this surgery?

  • What   are my specific risks? How risky is my surgery?

  • Did   I have a heart attack? If so, how will this affect my surgery?

  • How   many other (men / women) have you operated on with my same condition and what   were their outcomes?

  • How   many patients do you operate on each year? How many of your patients were   women?

  • Can   my chest and leg scars be minimized or can vessels be taken from a less   visible location?

  • How   long is my expected recovery? When will I be able to resume normal   activities? Drive a car? Return to work? Have sex? Be independent in   activities of daily living? Make plans for help in the home for the first   full two weeks following your discharge from the hospital. Ask for a social   service referral to help assist your family with sharing duties.

  • What   is your fee? Will you accept my insurance as payment in full?

  • If   I decide not to have blood products administered, does the hospital follow   Bloodless Care Protocols?

  • What   accommodations are available for my family’s stay on the hospital campus so   that they can support me throughout the operation?

  • When   will you be available to answer some of my concerns about the operation? Write   down your appointment time to speak with your surgeon or the cardiac team   nurse:Date _________ Time__________

Tell your heart surgeon…

  • If   you want bloodless care;

  • If   you want your Advance Directives postponed during surgery. This is the usual   procedure. It will be reinstated after you are stable and transferred to   intensive care;

  • If   you have had a vein stripping operation. The doctor will need to look   elsewhere for vessels;

  • If   you would like to hear reassurances during the operation that “all is   going well”;

  • If   you would like to employ holistic measures to help you relax, for example   therapeutic massage, aroma therapy, reflexology, bio-feedback or music   therapy.

  • If   you would like to play a relaxing CD during the surgery. You may need to   bring in your own headphones and CD player, but this may be well worth the   trouble.

Discuss with your anesthesiologist any health history that could   affect how you respond to anesthesia, for example, if you…

  • Have   panic attacks

  • Experience   chest pains not related to activity

  • Take   medication for anxiety

  • Excessively   drink, binge drink or do weekend drinking

  • Take   herbal supplements

  • If   you or a family member (blood relative) has ever had a serious reaction to   anesthesia;

  • If   you have a drug allergy or sensitivity or you are allergic to latex.

List drug allergies here:

Source: Women’s Health Foundation

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