For Appointment
Upland - (909) 579-6721 Riverside - (951) 788-3930
Temecula - (951) 303-3100

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process for scheduling my surgery?

Initial Consult: You will be evaluated by the Heart/Vascular/Lung Surgeon in our office after being referred by your primary MD or Cardiologist for a consultation. The surgeon will be discussing the results of any diagnostic tests such as the Angiogram, CT Scan, Echocardiogram, Stress Test, Nuclear Medicine Test and Laboratory Tests as they pertain to your need for surgical intervention. The Surgeon will provide general information regarding the surgery along with the risks and benefits so that you and your family members are able to make an informed decision. It is important that you bring 1-2 close family members with you to this appointment.

After the decision for surgery is made, you will be scheduled for a pre-operative appointment at least 3 days prior to the surgery. This appointment is designed to obtain any tests necessary for surgery, gather important insurance information, discuss the preparation for surgery and explain the logistics regarding your admission to the hospital.

Am I going to need a blood transfusion?

Blood Transfusion: Not every heart surgery requires a blood transfusion. Most scheduled, non-emergent heart / lung cases do not require blood transfusions. A type and screen blood test is always completed prior to surgery so that the hospital’s blood bank has your type of blood available for you should it be required.

You do have the option of donating your own blood (Autologous Blood Donation) prior to the heart surgery if it is a planned procedure. Please inform our office of your request so that we can help facilitate your wishes with the proper agency. Remember, most insurance providers do not provide coverage for Autologous Blood Donation. You might need to check with your provider so that you can plan for this expense.

What activities am I allowed to do after heart surgery?

Daily Routine: After you are discharged from the hospital following heart surgery, it is important that you do as much for yourself as possible. This includes getting out of bed, bathing/showering, dressing, light meal preparation, medication administration and walking around the house.

Exercise: Walking is the best activity that you can engage in following heart surgery. Begin a walking program after discharge from the hospital. Start by walking 5-10 minute intervals 2-3 times daily, then progress by increasing those intervals by 5 minutes every week until you are walking 30-40 minutes without stopping on flat surfaces only. Do not walk when it is excessively warm or cold. Do not walk up hills for 6 weeks. This will put undue stress on a recovering heart. Think about joining a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at your local hospital. Some health insurances cover this service.

Driving: Since the breast bone (sternum) is broken during surgery, it takes at least 6 weeks for the bone to heal. You may resume driving 6 weeks after the surgery.

Sex: Avoid putting pressure on your chest for 6 weeks. When you are ready, you may resume sexual activity.

Are there dietary restrictions following heart surgery?

Diet: Your diet following heart surgery, especially bypass surgery should include low fat, low glycemic index and high fiber food. A plant based diet is best following bypass surgery, however this might be difficult if you are not a vegetarian. Please click on the Resource tool bar for additional information.

How should I take care of my incision when I go home?

Incision Care: You may shower right away. Use warm water and pat try with a soft towel. Do not apply ointments, salves or lotions to the incision area. Keep area clean and dry.

How do I manage the pain after surgery?

Pain Management: You will be given a prescription for pain management at the time of discharge from the hospital. Sometimes it can be helpful to alternate extra strength Tylenol with the prescription for pain. Remember not to take the pain medication more often than is indicated on the prescription directions. Do not take Tylenol, Advil or any other over the counter pain medication in conjunction with your prescription pain medication.

To minimize pain during coughing or sneezing, it is helpful to splint yourself with a pillow. The nurses in the hospital should teach you how to do this prior to your going home. Women should always wear a bra. This will help to alleviate excess weight on the chest and back area and lend support. Remember not to lift anything over 10 pounds for 6 weeks

When am I able to travel?

Travel: Air travel is not recommended for 6 weeks. Travel to elevations greater than 5,000-6,000 feet is not recommended until your physician gives permission. When you are able to travel long distances, remember to stop, stretch and move around every hour.

What are some important reasons to call my Surgeon after I go home?

Notify the Surgeon:

  • Sudden or severe pain not controlled by prescription medication
  • Irregular / fast heart beat
  • Increased swelling of legs, hands, feet
  • Fever, swelling, tenderness, oozing, redness around incision
  • Weight gain over 2 pounds in 24 hours
  • Shortness of breath or at rest or with minimal activity
  • Increased dizziness/ lightheadedness

For any Emergency, call 911.