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trust your own intuition. It is not unusual for concerns to arise along the way, and sometimes a serious problem. That is the honest reality of heart surgery. Detecting changes when they are small is the key. If problems do arise, open discussion among the care team, patient and family is the way to go.


Prepared with knowledge and good advice, patients will decide the course of their own recovery. Many patients are able to go home from the hospital within 2-5 days after heart surgery, and progressively return to normal activities over the next three to eight weeks. A cardiac rehabilitation program can help set the stage for many decades of better health. Heart surgery is an initial step on a lifetime journey.

Many of the conditions treated by heart surgery are preventable to a remarkable degree. It is never too late to begin making changes that may give you many years, even decades, of better health. You know most things on the list already: what you eat, how much you exercise, not smoking, stress modification, careful control of your weight, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. They all matter.


You also probably know by now that making changes in life isn’t easy at first. What seems to matter most isn’t will power, but being thoughtful about your circumstances. The more you are with others who share your goals, and care, in a favorable environment, the more likely that all of you will succeed. Be kind to yourself. Open your life to new friends and new circumstances. Blossom forward into new health.

Getting Well

Photo credit: Robert Badgett, MD

Like the blossoming of springtime on the prairie, getting well after heart surgery is usually a joyous experience filled with many life changes big and small.


For most heart surgery patients, the heart is stronger right away after the operation. It is remarkable how fast people usually recover from heart surgery. Trust your  repaired heart, and the advice of your care team. And,

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