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Guidelines for Vascular Surgery Patients

written by: angiem1981 • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 12/18/2010

Although guidelines for vascular surgery may slightly differ depending on the patient, there are a few hallmark guidelines. Whether having heart catheterization or a more serious procedure, educating one’s self about these principles can affect the outcome of the procedure.

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    Guidelines for Vascular Surgery Overview

    Any time a patient has surgery, there are a few basic things that are necessary to consider, this may be especially so when it comes to invasive procedures related to the heart. There are established sets of guidelines for before and after surgery that can affect how the surgery will go, the healing process and the lifestyle of the patient following a vascular procedure. While the surgeon will explain these things ahead of time, they generally can not be stressed enough.

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    Guidelines for Vascular Surgery: Pre Operatively

    Unless the vascular procedure is provided on an emergency basis, there are a few instructions that the patient may have to follow. This can include fasting, omission of certain medications and avoidance of specific activities. In most cases, these restrictions apply to the first twenty four hours prior to the operation or at least the night before. However, it is important that the client clarify any and all of these orders with his or her physician as it is not safe to discontinue medications without the approval of the physician.

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    Operation Day Guidelines

    The day of vascular surgery, there are a few things that the patient may need to alert the physician to. For example, if the person has experienced a fever or any cold like symptoms within the last twenty four hours, this should be reported. It is often standard policy to delay the surgery if illness is suspected, or even a possibility as serious complications, such as infections and problems with anesthesia may occur.

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    Post Operative Period

    Guidelines after vascular surgery can significantly differ depending on the type of procedure that was performed. Typically, these include, but are not limited to restrictions on driving, lifting, tugging and pulling. Other restrictions can consist of the inability to take a tub bath, climb stairs and resuming normal daily activities upon discharge. Following these rules can help eliminate the risk of infection and possibly prevent the incision from coming open. The duration these instructions must be followed may range anywhere from a few days to weeks post operatively. In addition to this, the patient may need to prop the legs and feet up and/or wear anti-thrombolytic stockings for the first couple of days after the surgery.

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    Follow Up and Maintenance

    Guidelines for vascular surgery extend well beyond the procedure. The patient can expect follow up visits on a regular basis and to make some lifestyle changes. Initially, follow up visits are within a specific time frame following the operation and depending on the patient's condition and reason behind the operation, they may continue at intervals of every three or six months that may eventually occur on an annual basis. Once again, this will vary on a case by case basis. Lifestyle changes can include incorporating regular exercise, following a cardiac diet and managing pre existing and/or related health conditions. Some patients may also take medications for blood pressure or plaque build up, for example.

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    Bibliography

    Activity Restrictions and Recovery After Open Chest Surgery: Understanding the Patient’s Perspective. Baylor Health. Viewed 15, December 2010. http://www.baylorhealth.edu/proceedings/21_4/21_4_parker-adams.pdf

    Cardiothoracic Surgery Patient Guidelines. Regional Heart Center. Saint Vincent’s Medical Center. Viewed 15, December 2010. http://www.stvincents.org/healthservices/heart/cardiothoracicsurgery/guidelines.cfm