Before a heart surgery...

A healthy heart is a prime determining factor to having a healthy body and mind.
With basic living bordering on the lines of intense stress on meeting deadlines and tackling crisis after crisis, a fairly high rate of youngsters are having to undergo heart surgeries.

There are many different kinds of heart surgeries, from replacing the valves that control blood flow to widening blocked or narrowed arteries to the heart. Preparing for heart surgery can be a stressful time for many people since it is a major procedure. There are counselors available to help deal with the mental preparation of surgery, as well as instructions and guidelines for what diet plan to follow just before the surgery. Always follow your doctor’s suggestions closely, as straying from the intended diet plan may interfere with your readiness to complete the procedure.

Stop smoking

Your doctor may suggest that you stop smoking immediately after you become aware that you have a heart surgery coming up. Smoking damages arteries to the heart and can cause blockages to it. It also damages the lungs, which is dangerous after heart surgery because breathing can be difficult while healing post surgery.

Body weight

Work to achieve a healthy body weight. Overweight patients are at a higher risk of complications during and after heart surgery. Those who have a healthy body weight are also reported to heal and return to normal activities faster. Reducing your calorie intake and increasing your exercise level will help to shed some excess weight before your heart surgery.

Dietary supplements

Stop taking dietary supplements. The University of Wisconsin recommends stopping intake of any vitamins, herbs or other dietary supplements two weeks before surgery. Foods that are rich in nutrients should be the focus of the diet leading up to surgery, avoiding excess dietary fats and high-calorie foods.

Solid foods

Stop eating solid foods the night before your surgery. Heart surgery patients should have a light dinner the night before their surgery and have only clear liquids after and up until the surgery.  Your body should not be working to digest any food as you are being operated on.

Additional measures

Check with your doctor for any other instructions that may be specific to you or your situation. There may be additional steps or precautions that are tailored to your situation that your physician would like you to carry out.


* Ensure most of the food has a healthy protein content
* Avoid greasy, oily food at any cost as this could alter the lipid profile in the system.
* Increase intake of fish as fish is healthy and plays a prominent role in the healing process
* The white of an egg is more suitable than the yellow of the egg. Eggs are rich in protein and help in recovery.
* Ensure that the body does not suffer from loss of nutrients.
* Include a diet of fresh fruit  and salads as part of the diet
* Also begin to get the body and the system used to mild quantities of butter and cheese.

(The writer is Chief Consultant, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon, Sapthagiri Hospital, Bangalore.)

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