1 – 3 Months
- Limit weight through your arms to 1 kg maximum.
- Support your chest when coughing or sneezing. Avoid putting pressure through your arms when you move around in bed or stand up from a bed or chair.
- After 1st week you can sleep on your side with a pillow supporting you.
- You are allowed to drive at 6-8 weeks post operatively providing no complications occur and your car insurance policy allows.
- (Different companies have different policies).
3 – 6 Months
- Gradually increase maximum load through your arms to 5kg.
- Activities you will now be allowed to do include coughing without holding your chest and light household chores.
After 6 Months
Gradually resume normal activities ensuring you stop immediately any pain is felt in the breastbone. You should be pain free in all arm movements before attempting heavy work.
*If you feel any clicking or movement in your breastbone, cease all activities using your arms and consult your doctor, promptly.
A. Preventing Respiratory Complications
A combination of factors associated with having cardiac surgery means that you are at higher risk of developing some lung collapse and producing more sputum than normal after the operation.
These risks can be reduced by:
- Ceasing smoking as early as possible prior to surgery, a minimum of 6 weeks is preferred.
- Sitting well upright in bed (or out in a chair) while awake
- Mobilizing early as per the plan included in this booklet.
- Performing breathing exercises using the Voldyne or Trifio (for 10-15 breaths) and coughing out phlegm (if present) every hour while still in hospital
B. Preventing Musculoskeletal Complications
Simple exercises for arms, legs and neck will minimize stiffness from occurring. These exercises should be performed every hour.
- Take chin to chest, then look up at the ceiling
- Take ear sideways to shoulder first (right) then (left)
- Turn head to look over shoulder, first to (right) then to (left)
- One at a time – reach arms forward then lift towards ceiling and back down, three to five times each side. If the internal mammary artery (IMA) from inside your chest has been used as one of your coronary artery bypass grafts then raise arm on that side to no more than chest height for three to four days after your surgery..
- Whist walking carry your folded towel under one arm or in your hand, so that it is available should you need to cough..
- Avoid holding the towel to your chest whilst walking around the ward, as this may result in sore or stiff neck and shoulders
- Walk with your head upright, chest out and shoulders back
C. Improving Mobility
Your inpatient mobility program is designed to make you independent in your normal activities of daily living and is essential to your successful discharge home