After the surgery you will be moved to the Intensive care unit and monitored closely. You will be still connected to the ventilator, until the anesthesia wears off and you start breathing on your own. Ventilator will be slowly weaned off in less than a day but this can take longer and varies from one case to another. You may still be able to communicate through hands and gestures. Nurses will have sign charts to ease the communication process. Chest tubes will be removed when drainage stops along with the pacing wires in about 1-2 days. Urinary catheter placed before the surgery will be used to measure your urinary output in the ICU and will be removed after a day or two.
Along with your regular medications, pain medications will be prescribed to alleviate the discomfort or pain in your chest where the incision has been made.
One or two members of your family will be allowed to visit you for a short while once or twice a day in the ICU. This however usually depends on the rules of the hospital. You can check this before surgery from the staff on the wards.
Breathing exercises and cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation procedures will help in speedy recovery.
You will be given liquid diets after the ventilator is removed, slowly progressing to solid foods.
Sponge baths will be given and only when your incision is clean and dry, you can use soap and water to clean the chest.
Changing positions in your bed helps you to recover quicker.
A pillow is usually given to you to support your chest during coughing.
Duration of Hospital stay purely depends upon the individual’s progress and may vary from a week or two.