What should you know before having heart surgery?

Published: Thursday, July 13, 2023
Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Learning that you need any type of surgical procedure can be worrisome. When heart surgery is needed, you probably have many questions.

That’s actually a good thing! Before you proceed with a surgical procedure of any type, you should learn all you can about the surgery and why it’s necessary. Your surgeon, cardiologist, and other providers should be willing to answer all of your questions to thoroughly prepare you for surgery and the subsequent recovery.

Wondering what you need to know before having heart surgery? We guide you through the basics below.

What questions should you ask before having heart surgery?

If your cardiologist or another heart health specialist has recommended that you undergo a surgical procedure, you want to ask questions with three purposes in mind:

  • You want to be able to make an educated decision about the type of surgical procedure you will undergo.
    Talk with your medical providers about what surgical options are available for treating your condition. Ask whether robotic heart surgery or another minimally invasive procedure is an option in your case. In the past, most heart surgeries required opening up the chest to access the heart. Today, many heart procedures can be done robotically, without opening up the chest. Find out whether that’s an option for you.
  • You want to ensure you’re undergoing that procedure in an environment that’s set up for surgical success.
    If you’ve been referred to a surgeon, talk with the surgeon about his or her expertise. An experienced surgeon will have performed many heart surgeries like the one you need. It’s also important to ask about other aspects of the care you will receive, including the hospital’s recovery units and programs like cardiac rehabilitation.
  • You want to make sure you have a complete understanding of what to expect before, during, and after the heart surgery.
    Knowing what’s involved in your heart surgery is an important part of undergoing the procedure and recovering afterward. Your mindset matters, and you need to have a good understanding of what’s involved. Ask questions about what you need to do in the days preceding the surgery, how the surgery itself works, and what to expect as you recover. This can include a general overview of the procedure, along with specific details about things like how long you may be out of work.

When you undergo heart surgery at Georgia Heart Institute, our team of cardiothoracic surgeons and support staff is here to answer every question you have. At Georgia Heart Institute, you can expect exceptional care—and it starts long before the day of your heart surgery.

Highly trained surgeons, including experts in robotic heart surgery, conduct heart procedures in an environment set up for successful outcomes. As you recover in the hospital, you’ll do so in a specialized cardiovascular intensive care unit, with a team of providers who will carefully monitor you. After you leave the hospital, your recovery will continue through follow-up visits with your surgeon and participation in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation.

Next Steps

When your heart’s at stake, you can depend on the experts at Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery and Georgia Heart Institute. The cardiothoracic surgery team is here to guide you to better heart health, during surgery and beyond. Call (770) 219-7099 to learn more.