Your have decided what treatment you will have and it has been scheduled. In addition to following your pre-operative instructions provided by your doctor, how else should you prepare?
Everyone is different in how they may prepare. Some people approach an upcoming major medical event on their own and with minimal preparation. Others thrive with preparations involving various aspects and involving others. Here is a list of potential action items to prepare yourself for TAVR and SAVR.
- Physical Preparation: While your activities may be limited by your aortic valve disease, under your care provider’s guidance you should try to stay as physically active as possible, but avoid activities that may produce symptoms. Good eating and sleeping habits should be encouraged. Avoiding excessive alcohol is part of this. If you smoke, try to immediately stop so your lungs may have a few weeks to repair themselves.
- Mental and Spiritual Preparation: Feeling anxious or nervous is a normal human reaction to an upcoming major medical procedure or operation. Find healthy means to deal with this stress. The support and guidance from a person’s religious community are important for some people.
- Clarification of Your Wishes: This is a good time to be sure your have any legal documents such as a will and advance directives needed to express your preferences and wishes should you be in a situation that you cannot directly guide these decisions. Be sure the person designated as your spokesperson understands your wishes and preferences.
- Organizing Your Personal Life: Now is the time to enlist the help of others to help with household chores such as laundry, grocery shopping, meal preparation, child and/or pet care while you are in the hospital and upon returning home.
- Assembling Your Support System: During and after SAVR and TAVR you will want to have support in the hospital and help at home during recovery. What friends or family can help and in what capacity is something you should consider assessing before the need arises.
As soon as you have decided to move forward to replace your heart valve, you can start planning for your post-procedure recovery. Making a checklist may help you prepare. This video provides general tips and suggestions for patients preparing for heart surgery.
Planning Post Procedure Checklist
- Medical leave options at work
- Insurance coverage
- Estimated expenses
- Cardiac rehabilitation & follow-up appointments
- Meals/food at home
- Loose and comfortable clothing and shoes for in-hospital stay
- Friend or family member with you at discharge
- Transportation home from the hospital and a driver for appointments, errands, and other commitments the first few weeks
- Pet care
- Yard work
- House-hold chores and shopping