Before and After Your Visit
You’re sure to have questions if you or a loved one is having a heart test, procedure, or surgery. What’s important is to talk frankly with your doctor so you, and the person supporting you through the process, can have a solid understanding of what to expect before, during, and after your heart procedure.
Your Heart Procedure
Before your heart procedure, test, or surgery:
- Prepare a list of questions to discuss with your doctor so you have a full understanding of what your heart procedure entails, why it’s necessary, and what to expect during and after.
- Obtain a list of things to bring and not to bring the day of your heart procedure. You may be asked to bring a change of clothes, a list of medications, or insurance information. Keep everything in one location, bag, or folder for easy access.
- Understand how long the procedure will take. Will you have to stay overnight? Will you need someone there with you or to give you a ride home?
- Complete all of the necessary paperwork in advance. Make copies for yourself.
- Make a list of people and contact information for the person who may accompany you. You may want someone to update friends and family.
- Bring along any medications or create a list, depending on your doctor’s instructions.
- Ask for printed instructions about how to prepare. Can you have any food or drink the morning of your test? Should you arrange for a ride home?
- Make a copy of your doctor’s written order for your procedure. In order to avoid having to reschedule, ensure your doctor completed the order with:
- Your name
- The specific test or procedure
- The reason for the test or procedure
- The doctor’s signature
After your heart test or procedure:
- Understand your restrictions along with what you're allowed to do once you're home.
- If you'll be staying in the hospital, understand the steps to recovery.
- Be clear about any new medications you're given after your procedure and any possible side effects.
- Communicate any changes, pain, or uncommon sensations you notice in your body to your nurse or doctor.
- Participate in your recovery by following exercise, lifestyle, medication, and follow-up visit requirements.
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