UT Health Physicians

Post-Surgery Care

Post-Surgery Care For Cardiac Patients

Follow-up appointments

  • Follow-up appointments are listed on your discharge summary.
  • Bring your discharge summary and all medications in the bottles with you.
  • Call 210-450-0999 if unable to keep appointment.

Discharge medications

  • Take only the medications listed on your discharge summary.
  • Discard old medications.
  • Please review your medication list carefully and compare medications picked up from pharmacy with discharge medication list.

 Wound care

  • Shower daily and wash incisions with mild soap and water.
  • Do not soak or submerge incisions in water — no baths, swimming pools or hot tubs.
  • The top layer of your skin may be sealed with surgical glue. Around 10-14 days post-surgery, you may experience flaking of the glue around the incision. The incision should remain closed.
  • It is normal for your incision to be bruised, itchy, numb and/or sore.
  • Do not use creams, lotions, ointments or powder on the incisions.

Pain management

  • Take pain medication when the pain first begins — don’t wait until you are in severe pain.
  • Use your medication only as directed. If the pain does not get better or if it gets worse, call us.
  • Medications taken by mouth need at least 20 minutes to take effect.
  • Take pain medication before any activities that increase pain (for example: walking, using the breathing machine).
  • Most pain medications will cause constipation. It is easier to prevent constipation with prune juice or a bulk laxative (examples include Metamucil or Benefiber) than to wait until it becomes severe.
  • Non−drug methods such as ice, heat and relaxation can also help decrease pain.
  • Many pain medications can cause drowsiness. Avoid alcoholic beverages and operating heavy machinery while taking pain medication.

Activity do's and don'ts

  • Do get some light exercise daily. Walking is the best choice.
  • Do NOT lift any object weighing more than five pounds for four weeks.  Five pounds is approximately the weight of a gallon of milk in each hand.  
  • Do NOT drive for six weeks or until cleared by your physician
  • Do NOT drive while taking pain medication
  • Do NOT return to work or school until cleared by your physician
  • Refrain from sexual activity for six weeks after surgery
  • Do NOT swing a golf club, fire a rifle, wear a backpack, push, pull, lift or drag any object heavier than five pounds or participate in any activity that applies pressure to your chest or shoulders for eight weeks.


  • Avoid added salt
  • Decrease intake of fats and cholesterol
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet to help your wound heal

Please check your incisions every day. If any of the following occurs, call 210-450-0999. For any life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • Swelling 
  • Opening in the incisions
  • Redness (a small, non−tender rim less than 1/4" on edge of incision is probably normal)
  • Excessive tenderness
  • Drainage (yellow or bloody, or any fluid with an odor)
  • Temperature above 101 degrees