Four ways physical therapy can help after your open heart surgery

Physical Therapy After Open Heart Surgery

People with severe blockages or narrowing of the coronary arteries often require open heart surgery. This procedure is also called heart bypass surgery or a coronary artery bypass graft. 

There are many Americans who undergo open heart surgery; one source reports that more than 900,000 cardiac surgeries are done in the U.S. every year. After such an invasive surgery, physical therapy is key to helping patients recover as well as they possibly can. 

Physical therapy that’s done after open heart surgery and other cardiac procedures is called cardiac rehab. There are many reasons why patients should consider using this service after their surgery. 

Physical therapy after open heart surgery can offer these four benefits: 

  1. Helping you maintain sternal precautions — Open heart surgery requires that a large incision be made in the middle of your chest. This is known as a sternal incision. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of precautions you’ll need to take to protect your sternal incision as it heals. Physical therapists can help you learn how to do normal daily tasks in ways that protect your healing incision. 
  1. Assessing your mobility — There’s no question that open heart surgery will affect your mobility. However, not every patient’s mobility is affected in the same way. One goal of physical therapy after open heart surgery is to assess how much your mobility has been affected. This assessment provides you with useful information and a beginning point for the remainder of your rehab. 
  1. Improving exercise tolerance — Physical therapists can also build you a customized, multiphase recovery plan designed to improve your exercise tolerance. In turn, meeting this goal can help improve your ability to do normal daily activities. Some methods that your physical therapist may use to improve your exercise tolerance include: 
  • Gentle cardiovascular exercise
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  1. Showing you how to monitor yourself — There are certain factors that you’ll need to learn to monitor on your own after open heart surgery. For instance, you’ll need to learn how to self-monitor your:
  • Heart rate
  • Symptomatic response to exercise
  • Rating of perceived exertion

Physical therapists can help you learn how to self-monitor each of these important factors. 

Find effective physical therapy after open heart surgery at Back in Motion

Keen to find top-notch physical therapy you can use after your open heart surgery? Our team at Back in Motion Physical Therapy offers post-surgical rehab that can fit the bill. The plans we create are customized to fit the surgery you’ve had and your body’s unique response to that surgery. In addition, we offer pre-surgical rehab services that can help you better prepare your body for surgery. 

Contact us today for more information about how we can help you with cardiac rehab or to schedule an initial appointment. 

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