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Before Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

Woman sitting on exam table talking to healthcare provider.The day of your bypass or valve surgery, a patient educator or a nurse may talk with you and your loved ones. He or she can tell you what to expect. You’ll most likely feel a little nervous before surgery. The hospital staff will do all they can to answer your questions and help you relax.

 Preparing for Surgery

  • Tell your doctor what medications you’re taking, especially aspirin or an anticoagulant, sometimes called a “blood thinner.” Ask if you should stop taking them.

  • If you smoke, stop now to improve your blood flow and breathing.

  • Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.

  • The anesthesiologist is the doctor who gives you anesthesia. It keeps you asleep and free of pain during surgery. He or she will talk to you about this before your surgery.

  • Any hair in an incision area may be removed. You may also be asked to wash with an antibacterial soap the morning of surgery.

  • If you are having valve surgery and need dental work, you may be told to have it done before surgery. This is because dental work can let bacteria enter the bloodstream, which may cause infection around a new valve.

Possible risks and complications of minimally invasive heart surgery are:

  • Lung complications

  • Severe bleeding

  • Infection

  • Nerve injury

  • Damage to bones and muscles

  • Problems due to anticoagulant therapy (if you had valve surgery)

  • Heart attack, stroke, or death

  • Problems with your heart’s rhythm, requiring medications or a pacemaker

© 2000-2011 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.