How Quick Is Recovery After Heart Surgery (Video)?

Pre-surgery health is a key factor in recovery time


Patients who are in good health before heart surgery recover faster than patients who are very ill before surgery. We know that when a sick patient requires emergency surgery, that patient usually takes more time to recover. An otherwise healthy person who undergoes elective surgery will likely recover a bit faster.

Most patients are about 80 percent healed by two months after surgery. Patients are able to participate in cardiac rehabilitation or resume normal activities. The last 20 percent of healing occurs over the following year. Patients may feel totally recovered by two or three months.

I always advise my patients that they should report shortness of breath and any incision pain that persists past six to eight weeks after surgery.

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Joseph F. Sabik III, MD

Joseph F. Sabik III, MD, is Chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Cleveland Clinic and directs the Clinic’s Cardiothoracic Training Program.
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  • David W Cook

    i had the maze procedure done at buffalo general by upper incision is still on fleconide,metropel and xarelto 20 mg daily.i had it done on june 17.they put mor stitches in it last week.should i be worried.what questions shoild i ask. thank you david w cook.

  • Jim Gillaspy

    Dr Sabik replaced my aortic valve in Feb, 2009. Thank you.
    James Gillaspy

  • Steve Shender

    Dr. Sabik repaired my mitral valve on May 21st of this year. Nearly 7 weeks later, I feel very good, on my way to feeling great — and I’m back to swimming my customary 1,850 yds (including a full pool length under water; with Zoomers swim fins) 5-6 days a week. I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Sabik and the whole cardiac team at the Cleveland Clinic. They were terrific!

  • sam

    i am a 25 year old male diagnosed with single vessel heart diseses , stenosois blood cloting , and lvef 45 . what are the recovery chances and lvef improvement
    can i be back to my normal life or i have to take precatuion throught my life

    • The_Beating_Edge_Team

      Sam, an ejection fraction of 45% is low normal (see ) and there are more indicators to how a patient does beyond ejection fraction such as the medications you are on and your exercise capacity. It will be important throughout your life to prevent progression of disease by eating right, not smoking, exercising, keeping your blood pressure, weight, blood sugar and cholesterol under good control. You should see a doctor who is experienced in coronary artery disease, secondary prevention (especially as you are so young) and heart muscle function to provide you with optimal guidance. We are having a web chat on 7/31 on CAD if you have additional questions see betsyRN

  • daniel

    i had a extended septal myectomy after 9 months of pretty severe symptoms and after having a alcohol ablazion how long should it take to heal im 3 weeks out of surgery and are chances pretty good to leading a normal life also had the apickle varient as well as part of septum wall and mitro valve was leaking a bit