Recovering from Cardiac Surgery - Heart 2 Heart Cardiac physiotherapy

Recovery from Cardiac Surgery

Recovering from cardiac surgery can be challenging and these unusual times can have added challenges.  With the very short length of stay in hospital after the procedure it can seem a little overwhelming once you get home.  There are a number of considerations that we can help you with.


The wound post surgery.

As the surgeon has broken through the breastbone to get access to your heart the scar over the breast bone will need to be managed.  Once the scabs have fallen off and there is good healing you can start some desensitisation and scar management work to improve the cosmetic aspect of the scar.  This management also helps prevent you cowering over the scar which can affect both your breathing and your posture.

We have prepared a short video for you to consider the management of your scar:


Click here to see Video on scar management post surgery


Psychological Adjustment post cardiac surgery 



The psychological adjustment post surgery is well recognised as a significant grief process with the following stages identified.  You may find yourself a little more irritable than normal – if this persists it is important to talk to your cardiac rehabilitation professional about this and they will seek the appropriate help for you.

Time frame

The time frame for recovery is longer than most people think – while you will recover well from the surgery within the first three to six months. Click on the image below to review time frame.




Exercise training post cardiac surgery 

It is important that you now glean the benefits from the surgery and start to work on your rehabilitation.  You will be given instruction on a walking programme on leaving hospital.  After the first 6 weeks you should look at your exercise in earnest.  Remember exercise is medicine and it is a critical part of your ongoing heart disease management.

Warm up

The warm up is essential to ensure full dilation of the coronary arteries. This takes 10 minutes. After this you start your cardiovascular training piece.

Cardiovascular training:

You should be able to walk and talk at the same time during this part of your rehabilitation session.  For more precise guidance you will complete an exercise test with your cardiac physiotherapist.  He/ she will be able to give you a training heart rate range that you can specifically target.  This will optimise your benefit from the sessions.

Cool down:

During the sessions you will build up adrenalin and noradrenalin which you need to flush out of your system.  A graduated cool down will facilitate this.


So the goal and the structure of your session is below. Click on the image to explore further.

Heart 2 Heart has been operating in the community caring for patients in Kildare and Dublin for over 7 years with over 20 years of experience working with patients with heart disease. Why not let us help you on your cardiac rehabilitation journey?

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