Heart surgery is a serious surgery, that isn’t anything you don’t already know, right? After all, you wouldn’t be reading this right now if you or somebody you know wasn’t about to have a heart surgery. And you’re probably curious as to how painful this will be during and after, and you should know, it’s going to be pretty painful. But your doctor will put you on a pain management regimen before you’re discharged.
However, by discharge time, your pain will be at a mild to moderate level, because if it isn’t, then your doctor most likely won’t release you. You’ll be prescribed pain management medication when you go home, be sure to take it as instructed. This is prescribed to assist you in getting up and moving around. Don’t worry about being addicted to it as long as you take it only as prescribed.
Then when your appointment for follow-up comes around, your pain level will be at a minimal level by then. There are patients that have expressed concern about chest and shoulder pains, causing them alarm that it may be angina. This is understandable and you shouldn’t hesitate to call your doctor if you do experience this pain.
However, this is typically nothing more than your bones and muscles aching. Again, don’t be afraid to call your doctor, though! Better safe than sorry.
With effective pain management medication, you will heal faster and in comfort. This medication you’re prescribed will keep possible complications risks minimal too. Believe it or not, you will be up walking around quick because your doctors will a physical therapist teach you breathing exercises. Those exercises will get your strength back sooner and they are also good for pain management.
Where Will The Pain Be Felt?
During your recovery period, you’ll feel burning, pain, or pressure in your chest and especially around the incision site while the tubes are still in place. When the doctor and nurses remove the chest tubes, you’ll have some discomfort and you’ll find it painful as you begin to move around and when you a cough, sit up, walk.
You will have pain in other areas as well. Your throat will be scratchy and sore from the breathing tube that was inserted during your surgery. If the doctor took an artery or vein from other areas of your body, you will have some pain there as well. And you’ll have some soreness and stiffness from lying down during your surgery and while you were in ICU. Again, your doctor will prescribe pain management medication and treatments that will ease the discomfort and pain.
Incision Area Numbness
Some patients have complained about having temporary numbness in their arm, chest, hand, or leg where an arterial line was inserted. This is completely normal and will improve over time. It can take months for some people and others just a few weeks. This happens because of the manipulation during surgery to the nerves.
Controlling and Monitoring Your Pain
Once the anesthesia you are under has worn off in the ICU, you will be given pain management medication by an IV line and after you are returned to your room your pain management medication will be in pill form or a suppository if you’re unable to swallow.
Or you may be kept on an IV line for another day or two. The nursing staff will keep regular checks of your vitals and ask you about your pain level so they can keep you comfortable following the doctor’s orders for pain management medications.