In the hospital
You may need at least a month to recover from your surgery.
You will be in the hospital for about the first week. You will usually be in the intensive care unit (ICU) until your vital signs are stable. You will move to the regular nursing floor to continue your recovery before you go home. During your hospital stay, you may need medicines for nausea, pain, and discomfort.
Plan to have someone drive you home. It may not be safe for you to start driving right away. Ask your provider when you can drive again.
If you had open-heart surgery, it may take a few months to fully regain your energy while your body is healing. Make sure you get good rest, and eat enough calories and nutrients to improve your energy.
You will likely have to take blood pressure medicine. High blood pressure puts stress on the incision wall and on your heart.
If your surgery included a valve replacement, your healthcare provider may also give you blood-thinning medicine to reduce your risk for blood clots.
Recovery time for endovascular surgery is often shorter. But complications can still occur. These may include blood leaking from the graft. You may need to follow up with your healthcare provider every 6 months.
After an aortic dissection repair, you’ll need to be careful when doing strenuous physical activities and sports. These activities can put pressure on your aortic wall. This could increase your risk for another aortic injury. Mild to moderate exercise is often OK. But always talk with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program. Ask your provider what activities are safe for you and when it's safe to begin.
If you smoke, stop smoking as soon as possible. This will give you a better chance for a successful recovery from surgery and improve your overall health.
Ask your healthcare provider what types of foods to eat and what types of foods to not eat. The recommended diet will depend on all of your healthcare needs.
Keep taking your medicines as prescribed.
A follow-up appointment will be made to monitor how you are healing and recovering from the procedure.
As you heal, be sure to watch your incision for any problems. Call your provider if:
Your incision becomes more sore, red, or swollen.
There is drainage from the incision.
You have a fever of 100.4°F (38 °C) or higher, or as directed by your provider