[an error occurred while processing this directive]
 

Home Care after Heart Surgery

CARE OF INCISION:

  • Leave incisions open to air.  No Band-Aids or dressings are needed.
  • A small amount of clear yellow or dark bloody drainage from any of the incisions is normal.  A Band-Aide or light dressing may be used for this.
  • Until the stitches are out, the incision should be washed daily with soap and water and gently patted dry. A tub bath or shower can be taken one week after surgery or after the stitches are out. 
  • Steri-strips or special tapes placed over the incision should be left alone until they fall off.
  • If stitches are still in place where the chest tubes were, they should be removed by your local doctor or home care nurse 5 days after the tubes were taken out.

ACTIVITIES:

  • Allow your child to play at his or her own pace.  Children are good at limiting their own activity.
  • Restrictions to follow:
    • For 2 weeks after surgery:
      • Lift infants and toddlers under their bottom while supporting their back.  Do not lift them under their arms.
    • For 2 weeks after discharge:
      • Keep your child home from school, day care (with the exception of a small, private day care) and other crowded areas such as stores and church.
      • If patient is of driving age, he/she should not drive.
    • For 6 weeks after discharge:
      • No physical activity such as gym, contact sports, sledding, bike riding, roller blading or skiing.
      • No working.
      • No lifting anything over 5 pounds.                                                        

There can be individual variations to these restrictions.  Talk with your cardiologist about your child’s individual needs.   

WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR:

  • Temperature over 101.5° (F)
  • Increased fatigue/tiredness
  • New onset of dry cough
  • Change in appearance of incision
    • Cloudy yellow drainage
    • Increased redness or swelling
    • Separation of incision
  • Increased pain

IMMUNIZATIONS:
Most children can begin or continue their routine immunizations (baby shots) about 4-6 weeks after their surgery.  Talk with your family doctor about this.

WHEN TO VISIT YOUR DOCTOR AFTER HEART SURGERY:

Family Doctor:

  • Newborns:                Within one week after discharge
  • All other children:   Contact your family doctor to determine when your child should be seen.

Cardiovascular Surgery Clinic (If being followed at Michigan Congenital Heart Center):

  • 2 weeks after discharge with the Nurse Practitioner.
  • Arrive 45 minutes early for a chest x-ray. 
  • Take x-ray with you to the clinic.

Pediatric Cardiology Clinic (If being followed at Michigan Congenital Heart Center):

  • 6 weeks after discharge.

Families who live a long distance from Ann Arbor will be asked to make their own 2 week follow-up appointment with their referring cardiologist.

4/2006:   Information reviewed and approved by Laura Bell, RN, MSN, CPNP Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Lynda Dettling RN, BSN.

 

back to top

University of Michigan Health System Cardiovascular Center
1500 E. Medical Center Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
734-764-5177
http://www.med.umich.edu/
(c) copyright 2005 University of Michigan Health System
  | UMHS Home | CVC Home | Contact Us | About CHC |