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After your heart procedure at the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Hospital, you begin your recovery with a brief hospital stay. Our experienced heart specialists and their teams provide superior care to help you achieve your best possible health after your procedure. We start with supervised walking, nutrition, pain management and thorough follow-up care.
After your heart procedure, you move to the cardiac cath lab recovery area for a short time. You then move to a private room in our intensive care unit (ICU) for your first night. Our ICU nurses monitor you 24/7 to ensure that you are recovering safely and comfortably.
Our goal is to remove major lines and catheters (thin, flexible tubes used during the heart procedure) as quickly as possible after your procedure for your comfort. During your ICU stay, you can expect that:
Immediately after your procedure, you have a period of bed rest that varies depending on the approach and type of procedure you had:
We provide you with an incentive spirometer, a breathing exercise device that you can use every 1 to 2 hours. The device promotes deep breathing to help prevent lung congestion and infections.
When the anesthesia wears off and you feel better, you may begin eating ice chips. You can quickly move on to drinking clear liquids and then eating. If you were on dietary restrictions before your procedure, you continue with the same eating plan afterward.
We provide medications to help relieve pain and discomfort after your procedure. To help manage your pain, we use a pain rating scale that uses numbers from 0 to 10. This standard scale helps us evaluate your pain experience over time.
Your nurse asks you to rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain ever. Our goal is to keep your pain rating at 2 or less. If you have pain greater than 2, we give you pain medication.
If you are concerned about taking too much pain medicine, understand that it’s important for your recovery to control your pain. As you recover, you will need less and milder pain medication.
At Henry Ford Hospital, we understand the importance of having the support of family and friends in your recovery and healing. Our visitation policy supports a culture of safety and embraces a family-centered care philosophy.
Providing the best possible care for you is our first priority, and our visitation policy for the ICU includes the following guidelines:
To control infection, visitors may not use the patient’s bathroom or shower, or lie down in the patient’s bed. Please ask a staff member for accommodations.
To maintain patient privacy and promote a healing environment, visitors may not use cell phones in the ICU and other units, as determined by the unit.
Our patients may not bring any personal belongings from home into the ICU. We recommend that you pack a bag with disposable personal items for your family to bring when you move to the general care area.
As soon as we determine that your health has progressed, you can move to a general nursing unit. If your recovery is going exceptionally well, you may be discharged from the hospital directly from the ICU, without an additional stay on a general unit. While you are here, we continue to watch your heart with a wireless heart monitor.
For the first few days after your procedure, you may have a reduced appetite. It’s important that you drink fluids and eat enough food to help in your recovery. If you have special dietary considerations, let your nurse know.
Guidelines for visitors to the general care area are similar to those of the ICU:
Through Guest Services, we offer guest housing on campus so that your family members can stay nearby. Call (313) 916-3299 in advance to make arrangements.
Depending on the type of procedure you had and your overall health, your hospital stay may be 3 to 4 days. Talk with your Henry Ford care team to decide how long you need to stay.
Before you leave the hospital, you may need one or more tests to monitor your progress. Your Henry Ford care team will let you know which tests you need.
The tests we typically use at this stage of your treatment include:
Our skilled physical and occupational therapists meet with you while still in the hospital to evaluate your physical ability. If you need short-term rehabilitation, our case management staff can help you make arrangements.
Depending on your overall health and individual needs, you may need one or more of the following:
If you were taking heart medications before your heart procedure, you will most likely continue taking them after leaving the hospital. We reassess all of your medications when you are discharged and at your follow-up visit to make adjustments and add or drop medications.
After your procedure, you will need to come back to the care team at the Center for Structural Heart Disease for follow-up care. We recommend checkups at 1 month and 1 year following your procedure. You also continue to work with your primary care physician and regular cardiologist to manage your health after the procedure.
Your care team works with you to transition to home or to another facility, such as a rehabilitation center or assisted or skilled nursing facility. Read all about how to plan for going home and recovery, including having someone stay with you for the first week or longer.
Find out everything to expect at each step of your care journey with the expert team at the Center for Structural Heart Disease: