Preparing for Your Procedure
At the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Hospital, your care is in expert hands. Our team of heart specialists meets with you to decide on the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
Making the decision for minimally invasive heart treatment
Whether your physician refers you or you contact us directly, we review all of your previous health records and test results before your first appointment. Our structural heart cardiologists may recommend further testing to confirm a diagnosis and plan for your treatment. Find out more about the advanced tests and technologies we use for diagnosis.
After your initial evaluation, our structural heart team meets to review your individual case. We then meet with you to discuss your options and help you decide on a treatment plan. As you consider the options for your heart procedure, we encourage you to discuss the details with your loved ones.
Scheduling your heart procedure
Once we have decided on your treatment, we can usually schedule the procedure soon after. We schedule the procedure based on several factors, including:
- The severity of your symptoms
- Your overall health
- The type of procedure you need
Health changes while waiting for your heart procedure
Heart valve disease and other structural heart problems usually become worse over time. You may notice an increase in your symptoms as you wait for your procedure at Henry Ford. During this time, continue to see your primary care provider or cardiologist to monitor your health in case of any changes.
If you do experience a sudden change in your health or are admitted to the hospital, please contact us (or have your care provider contact us) at (313) 916-1878. We will contact your physician and may request your transfer to Henry Ford Hospital ahead of schedule.
Ask questions in advance about your heart procedure
During the evaluation process with our heart team, write down any questions you have about the procedure and your recovery time. You can either bring your questions to an office visit or call the Center for Structural Heart Disease at (313) 916-1878. We help you prepare for your procedure by answering all your questions in advance. As you prepare:
Meet with others on your heart team
As part of our evaluation process, our structural heart team may recommend that you see other healthcare providers including a:
- Pulmonologist to help improve lung health
- Physical therapist to help improve your ability to move
- Dietitian to provide instructions to improve your health through better eating
- Psychologist to help our heart team better understand how to provide the best care for your needs
Plan for going home
It’s important to have a plan for someone to help you when you go home after your heart procedure. Start planning as soon as you know that you will be having the procedure. Your hospital stay may be from 2 to 10 days, depending on the procedure you are having, your overall health and your progress after the procedure. We will plan for you to return home as soon as it’s safe for you.
Arrange for transportation home
First, make arrangements for someone to take you home after the procedure. Ambulance services will not drive patients from the hospital to their home.
If you live more than one hour outside the Detroit area, you may prefer to stay overnight near the hospital before traveling home. We offer convenient Guest Housing right on our hospital campus for you and your family. Find out more about Guest Housing. Make reservations by calling (313) 916-3299.
Arrange for help at home
The second step is to plan for help when you return home. Most of our patients say that it takes them 1 to 2 months to fully recover. We recommend that you arrange for someone to stay with you for the first week or longer to help as you rebuild your strength.
If you need more time to regain your strength, you may arrange for home healthcare services or transfer to an assisted or skilled nursing facility. Your structural heart team will help you make any necessary arrangements.
Preparing for the procedure
Before you come to Henry Ford for your procedure, you can take several steps to help ensure a successful outcome and recovery, including:
Stay physically active
Talk with your physician or the structural heart team about the level of activity that is best for you. The goal of physical activity is to maintain your muscle strength, which will help you in your recovery. Our recommendations include:
- Stay as active as you can.
- Try to exercise every day, keeping your exercise sessions short if you tire easily or have symptoms.
- If you become short of breath or experience chest heaviness, dizziness or fatigue, then slow down and rest.
If you are waiting for a heart procedure, we recommend that you do not drive until after your procedure. Talk with your physician or the structural heart team about whether driving is safe for you.
Eat a healthy diet
Healthy eating is important to help promote healing after the procedure. If you are on a low-salt or fluid-restricted diet, continue to follow these instructions.
Take your medications
Continue to take your medications as prescribed to help manage your symptoms. We will tell you if you need to adjust dosages or stop any medications before your procedure.
Get regular dental care
Good dental care helps you avoid bacterial infections after your procedure. Going forward, you will need to take antibiotics prior to having any dental work done. Our recommendations include:
- If you have your own teeth and have not had a dental exam within 6 months, arrange for a dental appointment as soon as possible.
- If your dentist decides that you need a dental procedure, have it done before your heart procedure.
Plan in advance for complications
It’s a good idea to make a plan for the healthcare you prefer if your health worsens. Start the conversation now with your loved ones, about the following:
- Patient advocate: Choose someone you trust to be your patient advocate. Your advocate will make medical decisions for your healthcare if you become too sick or are otherwise unable to make the decisions yourself.
- Advance directive: Write down the treatment options you prefer on an advance directive and durable power of attorney health care form. Share the completed form with your physicians, nurses, social workers, friends, family and patient advocate.
- Advance care planning: Talk with your family and your physician about your choices and your future healthcare, to ensure that your choices are respected when the time comes. For more information, read about advance care planning.
Call to schedule your appointment
We do our best to schedule your heart procedure as soon as possible and with as much advance notice as possible. A member of our heart team will call you to schedule your procedure date and provide reporting instructions. This is a good time to discuss any additional health issues or to ask questions.
During the call to schedule your procedure, we will review your health history, including:
- Blood thinners: If you take blood thinners such as Coumadin® (warfarin), Eliquis® (apixaban) or Pradaxa® (dabigatran), we will instruct you on when to stop taking them before your procedure.
- Diabetes: If you take medications for diabetes, we will give you instructions on how to adjust your dose prior to coming to the hospital.
- Allergies: If you have an allergy to contrast dye, we will give you a prescription for medication to help prevent any reactions during the procedure. You may start taking the medication before you come to the hospital or, if you are pre-admitted, after you arrive.
- Plan for the day of your procedure: We will review our instructions with you about where to report on the day of your procedure, when to stop eating and drinking and other details.
Additional tests before your heart procedure
In the week before your procedure, you will need to have blood and urine testing to help the team prepare for your procedure. You can have the tests done here at Henry Ford or at your primary care provider.
You may need a right heart catheterization (RHC) to measure the pressures in the heart before the procedure. Based on the results of the RHC, your structural heart team can adjust your medications or fluid status. If you need an RHC:
- We schedule your appointment for the RHC for the day before your heart procedure.
- During an RHC, our cardiologist inserts a special IV (intravenous) line through a large vein, usually on the right side of the neck.
- After we assess the pressures in your heart, you spend the night in the intensive care unit.
- We will call you the afternoon of the day before your procedure with your scheduled time and instructions.
Minimally invasive heart procedures at Henry Ford: What to expect
Read about what to expect at each step of your care journey with the expert team at the Center for Structural Heart Disease:
- What to expect: We’ve outlined the entire process of the patient experience at Henry Ford. Learn more >>
- Day of your appointment: Find out what to bring and where to go on the day of your procedure. Learn more >>
- After your procedure: Your recovery begins with a short hospital stay at Henry Ford. Learn more >>
- Going home: Start planning for your recovery at home before your procedure. Learn more >>
Patient education for structural heart disease care at Henry Ford
Download these PDFs to read more about specific structural heart conditions and treatment:
- Aortic stenosis: This condition is narrowing of the aortic heart valve, the valve that allows oxygen-rich blood to flow to the rest of the body.
- Mitral stenosis: This condition involves narrowing of the mitral heart valve, the valve that allows oxygen-rich blood to flow into the heart from the lungs.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): This common condition causes the heart muscle to thicken and stiffen, restricting the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently.
- Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR): Making the Decision: Physicians on our structural heart team are pioneers in this innovative treatment for aortic valve disease.