Friday, January 27, 2012

Preparing for Your Surgery

Before your surgery can be a busy time-you can expect visits from different members of the cardiothoracic surgery team. Besides your heart surgeon, team members include residents and anesthesiologists. The team also includes nurse practitioners and nursing staff, who are specially trained in treating heart patients.

The nurse practitioner will discuss what to expect before and after your heart surgery. He or she will serve as a contact person and coordinate your care. Your nurse practitioner will meet with you on a regular basis during your stay and will help make plans for your discharge home.

A respiratory therapist will explain the need for coughing and deep breathing, and will show you how to use a lung exerciser called the incentive spirometer. You need to use this after surgery to keep your lungs clear. The anesthesiologist will see you and explain the type of anesthesia you will be given. Anesthesia will be given right before and throughout the operation, so you are asleep the entire time. The surgical resident will assess you, have you sign a consent form, and answer your questions.

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