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Before my surgery...

What should I do? | Should I eat?

After my surgery...

What should I do? | What should I eat?

Cardiothoracic Surgery Patient Checklist

This checklist will help you to prepare for cardiothoracic surgery. Use the checklist and write down your questions so we can answer them when you return to the hospital for your surgery. If questions need an answer before surgery, please call (210) 495-4200 during office hours.

We operate in several different hospitals. If you are being admitted the morning of surgery we will give you instructions as to where and when to report, usually the hospital admissions office. During your surgery, we would like your family members to wait in the surgical waiting room so that we may send word out regarding the progress of your operation and so that we may visit with them when the procedure is concluded.

When your operation is over, persons having heart surgery or lung/thoracic surgery will go to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. It may take an hour or more before your family is able to see you following your surgery. Your family will have an opportunity to speak with a member of the surgical team following your surgery. If you live outside the San Antonio area, you will need to make arrangements for lodging the night before surgery.

1. Do not eat or drink anything (including water) after midnight the night before your surgery except that you may drink a small amount of water with medications you were instructed to take on the morning of your surgery. You may brush your teeth and/or gums.  Rinse your mouth with mouthwash or water, just do not swallow any liquids.

2. Please, No alcohol consumption 24 hours before surgery.
3. If you have not stopped smoking, you should do so at this time. Smoking makes it more difficult for you to cough and clear your lungs of secretions after the operation.

4. If you are taking Coumadin, Plavix, Persantine, Ticlid, and/or Aspirin product, your doctor will advise you to stop taking the medication several days prior to your surgery. Heart, coronary artery bypass surgery patients should continue taking their Aspirin as ordered.

5. If you are diabetic and take Metformin, you should stop taking the medication 2 days prior to your surgery date.  Your primary care physician may wish to prescribe some other diabetic medication for you to take during this period.

6. Continue to take all your other regular medications as ordered. Bring your medications or a list of your medications including the dosage and when you take them with you to the hospital on the morning of surgery. This will allow the nursing staff to correctly record all medications that you normally take at home.

7. Practice getting in/out of a chair, bed, toilet with arms hugged around a pillow across chest.
8. Women (having heart surgery) should bring a bra a size or two larger around the chest than normal (cup size as normal), soft elastic, no under wire. We recommend Playtex Eighteen-Hour Posture Bra. It should be given to your nurse in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit to be worn immediately after surgery.

9. Pack loose fitting clothes/pants with elastic waist and button or zippered top/shirt such as a sweat suit. These clothes are to be brought to the hospital after you have been transferred to the cardiovascular step-down unit or progressive care unit (usually day following surgery).

10. You will be given Hibiclens surgical soap in which to take a shower at home the evening before and the morning of your surgery. Take a 10-minute shower, wash well from head to toe (including your hair, beard, etc.), do not apply any creams, lotions, powders, hairspray, etc. after the shower. Do Not shave any surgical areas. Male patients should shave their face/neck. You do not have to shave off your beard or mustache.

11. For patients having surgery involving a specific side, (such as lung surgery on the left side), after your shower, mark the surgical site (right or left) with a permanent marker, with your initials.

12. Remove all jewelry before surgery and leave at home. If you are unable to remove rings, we have special equipment to cut the ring. Rings are a hazard after heart surgery because of the normal swelling that occurs, especially in fingers.

13. We encourage you to limit visitors to close family members during your hospital stay. We suggest you request that friends and extended family wait to visit until after you return home.

14. If you get a fever, cold/flu, rash, or feel as if you have any type of infection call your doctor. Surgery may need to be postponed.

15. Heart surgery patients will take the following medications one time a day for two days prior to surgery:
Vitamin C 2 Grams (1,000 mg = 1 Gram)
Vitamin E 400 Units
Allopurinol 600mg