What is the Average Hospital Stay After Open Heart Surgery?

Open heart surgery is helpful in attending to the disease to the sections of heart such as the coronary artery. Other reasons for opting heart surgery include heart failure, replacement of heart valve, and other heart diseases. The common cause behind open heart surgery is coronary artery bypass.

Coronary artery bypass requires the surgeon to create an incision vertically in the chest region that measures around 10 inches. The procedure will help the doctor to view the heart and its surroundings. The bypass surgery is a procedure where the surgeon bypasses the diseased arteries with that of a vein graft or healthy artery to increase the fresh flow of the blood into the heart.

What is the Average Hospital Stay After Open Heart Surgery?

After the conclusion of the open heart surgery, it is essential for the patient to stay in the hospital for about 10 days. The stay varies from one individual to another and according to the technique carried out by the surgeon. It also depends on the health factor of the patient before attending the operation. The stay can extend if the open heart surgery patient develops complications during the monitoring period or the recovery period.

The patient remains in ICU for two days, during which the doctor monitors the heart activity continuously. There are several tubes connected to the body that help temporarily in breathing, remove stomach secretions, drain the bladder, measure blood pressure, and drain chest cavity filled with fluid and blood.


After dismissal from the hospital, the open heart surgery patient can expect a recovery period between 4 and 6 weeks. The duration is dependent on how the patient is following the instructions provided by the surgeon. The patient also receives information related to the care from the rehabilitation team. Diet control is also essential to ensure that the heart functions in the appropriate manner and the body gets its share of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Exercising is part of the recovery, as it helps in improving the blood flow and breathing. A physical therapist will provide complete information related to exercise activities and special instructions that prevent opening of the incision.

The cardiac rehabilitation program provides information related to the recovery and the support necessary in returning to a healthy lifestyle. The professionals conducting the program offer new ways of inducing healthy habits such as the inclusion of exercises and eating the right food for the open heart surgery patient.

Lifestyle Changes and Medicines

Although an open heart surgery patient remains on an average for about 10 days in the hospital, lifestyle changes and drugs also play a crucial role in the recovery. Quitting smoking, including a healthy diet, and exercising brings significant changes and helps in protecting the grafts for a more extended period of time. Such a step will increase the chance of living a healthier life for an extended period.

Consuming medicines as prescribed by the doctor will also be helpful in controlling the cholesterol and blood pressure. Medicines act as support for the lifestyle changes and offer extended benefit from the bypass operation.

Open heart operation is not a remedy for a heart disease. It is the reason why the recovery period post-operation is critical. Avoiding smoking, including exercises, taking medicines, bringing changes to lifestyle and food is important. Without altering or bringing modifications, the patients increase the risk of damage to the arteries in new regions, which propels the requirement for additional surgery.

Risks Involved

Bypass surgery is a common act to attend to heart diseases. However, it does have serious risks, which are:

Additional risks for open heart surgery include the development of infections at the site of the incision. A few patients also suffer from memory loss.

Also Read:

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:March 15, 2018

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