Open Heart Surgery And Short-Term Rehab

If you have an open heart surgery scheduled in your future, then you should understand that you will need to recuperate from the surgery. And while many people will do this in a hospital setting, other individuals will be asked to go to a rehabilitation center. Rehabilitation is important after heart surgery for a number of reasons and you will be expected to do certain things before you leave the short-term physical rehabilitation services center. Keep reading to learn about a few of these things.


Ambulation is the term used to describe movement or mobilization after a surgical procedure. You may hear it referred to post-op ambulation. Postoperative ambulation often starts in the hospital setting, but complications and general mobility issues can make it difficult or impossible for individuals to move a great deal right after a major surgery. If this is the case, then your rehab will typically focus on ambulation at the beginning of your stay. 

Ambulation focuses on limb movements and walking, and you will walk with assistance using a walker or an individual who can be used as a guide. Walking will start immediately. You will be asked to move several times a day and distances will be longer and longer the more you are able to walk. 

Ambulation is important to your recovery because it reduces the amount of fluid that can build in your body after a major surgical operation. Also, it prevents the formation of blood clots that can cause serious complications after heart surgery. 

Sitting And Standing Techniques

Individuals will need to do certain tasks in a specific way after open heart surgery. These tasks are important to reduce stress on the sternum, which is most often cut and wired closed after an open heart procedure. This is important so that the sternum has the opportunity to heal and close properly. 

To reduce stress on the sternum, individuals cannot use arms in a way that places pressure on the chest. For example, they cannot use arms to brace themselves when sitting and the arms cannot be used to pull up the body from a sitting position. Arms also cannot be raised over the head for some time as well. 

You will learn how to sit, stand, and complete other tasks in the rehab setting in a way that little pressure is placed on the chest. This often means using muscles you are not used to flexing, so you may need to complete some strengthening exercises to make sure you have the ability to use your muscles properly.