How Long Does It Take To Recover From Open-Heart Surgery?

Open-heart surgery refers to a surgical procedure, in which cardio surgeons direct the blood flow across a section of any partially blocked or completely blocked artery of the patient’s heart. In simple words, the surgery involves creation of a new pathway towards the heart. In this way, the open-heart surgery helps in improving the flow of blood towards the heart muscle.

During this surgery, cardio surgeons take a healthy blood vessel from the arm, chest or leg of a patient and connect it to various other arteries in the heart to allow bypass of the blood from the blocked or diseased area.

The main role of open-heart surgery is to bring improvement in chest pain, breathing shortness and similar other problems, which often take place because of the flow of poor blood towards the heart. In addition, the surgery has successfully brought improvement in the cardiac function and thereby, reduced the risk related to die because of heart problems.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Open-Heart Surgery?

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Open-Heart Surgery?

Recovery period of any patient underwent with open-heart surgery may vary from minimum 6 weeks to 6 months. In fact, it depends on the way, in which a patient takes care immediately after the surgery, both in the hospital and in home.

Incision Care: Incision care is of huge significance. Hence, you should keep the site of your incision dry and warm, while wash hands both before and after you touch it. Besides this-

Healing: If the incision heals properly and does not involve drainage, you may go for shower.

Shower Time: Furthermore, your shower should never exceed more than 10 minutes period and that too by applying light warm water (neither too hot nor too cold).

Incision Care: You should make sure that the site of your incision does not hit directly with water.

Other than this, you should inspect the incision site on a regular basis to check any sign related to infection. These include redness across the incision, fever/feverish feelings, increased oozing, drainage or opening from the site of incision and warmness across the line of incision.

Pain Management

Pain management is equally essential for a patient with proper incision care. This is because; it helps in increasing the speed of recovery and reduces the probability of various complications, such as pneumonia or blood clots. You may experience throat pain, muscular pain, pain at/across the incision sites and pain from the placed chest tubes. Only should take the prescribed pain medicines, as said by your doctor.

Why and When Open Heart Surgery is Preferable?

Cardiac surgeons recommend and prefer for open heart surgery when there is-

Severe Chest Pain: When patients experience severe chest pain because of narrowing of arteries responsible for the supply of heart muscles and thereby, leave such muscles short of blood even during any light physical exercise or when a person takes rest. Although, stents and angioplasty may give good results in some cases, but in case of complicated blockages, doctors consider open-heart surgery as the best option.

Improper Function of the Left Ventricle: When an individual has two or more than two coronary arteries in diseased condition and the main pumping chamber of the heart, i.e. the left ventricle fails to function in a well manner.

Blockage of Coronary Artery: When the left i.e. main coronary artery of a person blocks or narrows severely. This artery is responsible for supplying a majority of blood towards the left ventricle.


After the open-heart surgery procedure, a large number of people feel better and succeed to remain free from cardiac problem symptoms for about 10 to 15 years. However, with time, other arteries or the newly made graft during the bypass procedure become clogged, which forces the patients to undergo with angioplasty or another bypass surgery.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 17, 2018

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