Many of your medications may be changed after surgery. DoÂ not hesitate to ask if you have questions about medications youÂ have been taking which you are not given at discharge. YouÂ will need to continue medications for diabetes or thyroid ifÂ you were taking them before surgery. If you were takingÂ Tagamet or Zantac, these may be resumed. It is OK to use nonprescriptionÂ laxatives, antacids or cough medicines.
Â In the hospital, your blood pressure is usuallyÂ lower. You are at rest more and removed from the stress of daily life. YouÂ may be sent home on less medication for your hypertension. Generally, asyou return to normal life over the next two months, your family physician willÂ need to adjust your medication.
Â You may have been on a number of medications toÂ control angina prior to surgery. Hopefully, you will not need these after heartÂ surgery. If you should have a recurrence of angina, do not hesitate to takeÂ nitroglycerin, and call your doctor.
If you have had surgery for atherosclerosis, coronary bypass,Â carotid surgery, or surgery for the leg arteries, you will need to take an aspirinÂ each day. This medication helps prevent clotting factors from sticking to veinÂ grafts or diseased arteries.
If you have had a heart valve replacement with a mechanicalÂ valve, you will be placed on Coumadin. Coumadin is often called â€œblood-thinner,â€Â but it doesnâ€™t really thin the blood. It is an anticoagulant, a drug which prolongsÂ the clotting time. You should NOT take aspirin. Prior to discharge, we willÂ regulate the amount of Coumadin for you to take by checking blood work,Â Prothrombin Time or Pro-Time. After discharge, you will need to have yourÂ physician check your Pro-Time in three to five days. After that, he willÂ check your blood work at regular intervals. You will need to take CoumadinÂ for the rest of your life. It is absolutely critical to your valve function that youÂ take your Coumadin as directed by your physician.
Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting. EatingÂ foods high in vitamin K may reduce the effectiveness of Coumadin. If you takeÂ Coumadin, avoid foods high in vitamin K such as asparagus, avocadoes, broccoli,Â cabbage, green onions, soybeans, lettuce, spinach, olive oil, and canola oil.Â Diet. Your diet should be modified to minimize foods high in fat and cholesterol.
The dietician will be happy to meet with you and your family prior toÂ discharge to discuss your diet. As a start, follow a common-sense diet ofÂ fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry. Avoid excessive red meats and foods whichÂ are fried. Your doctor may want to check your cholesterol after you are homeÂ and back on a routine diet. Alcohol and coffee in moderation are acceptable.