Before you undergoe the heart replacement surgery to replace a heart valve, you will need to prepare for your hospital stay.
You will have to visit the hospital or your doctor’s office several days in advance of your surgery for a hospital preadmission session. During this session, the medical team will educate you about the upcoming surgery. They will teach you how to prepare for your operation and explain the procedure, give instructions for a successful recovery. At some institutions, a patient education video is shown about the heart valve replacement surgery.
Use this time to ask questions. It is natural to be worried and anxious before the surgery. So talk about the issues which cause you anxiety.
Your doctor or nurse will discuss about the informed consent during the preadmission session. They will describe about the risks related to the heart valve replacement surgery which include:
- Heart attack
- Kidney failure
You will be asked to sign a consent form or waiver. Ensure to read it carefully and ask the questions about the form if there is anything you do not understand.
You will have a range of the preparatory procedures to follow. The hospital staff will give you a few preliminary tests such as a blood test, an EKG to ensure that your bodily functions are normal. You will be asked to bathe or shower with an antiseptic soap while a technician will shave any hair from your chest and abdomen. This will ensure that your body can be as clean as possible during the surgery.
One of the most important discussion before the heart valve replacement surgery will be with your anaesthesiologist, who will administer anesthesia during the surgery. The general anesthesia has significant risks and therefore you will need to describe your past medical history including the surgery you have had and any allergies to food or medicines. You should mention any history either personal or within your family about the adverse reactions to anesthesia. Also bring a list of the medicines you are currently taking.
Since the heart valve replacement surgery is a serious procedure, you should start preparations for it several days ahead of time. Try to get into good condition by eating healthy foods, limiting vigorous physical activities and getting plenty of rest. Ask your doctor if there are any medicines which you should take or which should not take before the surgery.
Your doctor will provide instructions for the night before your surgery. Your doctor will tell you when you must not eat or drink anything including water before the surgery. You will have to follow the instructions or surgery may be cancelled. In case, your doctor has instructed you to take your medications on the day of surgery, do so by taking only a sip of water.
Before the surgery starts, you will be put under general anesthesia which will be given through an IV line and through a mask placed over your mouth and nose. When you are under the general anesthesia, you will be unconscious during the entire operation and you will not feel anything. When you are unconscious, the surgeon will make an incision along the length of the breastbone and expose your heart and hook up to a heart-lung machine. After blood flow is directed to this machine, the surgeon will remove the damaged valve and replace it with an artificial one.
The above are preparation tips before the heart valve replacement surgery.