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.

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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.


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.