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What to Expect – Heart and Vascular Care

We understand the worry that can come with heart problems. That’s why we strive to make sure you understand your condition, what tests and procedures are being used and why, and who is involved in your care.

We’re always looking for new ways to increase your comfort. For example, if you need a catheter-based procedure, we’ll try to use a technique that allows you to sit up rather than having to lie down for hours. It’s part of our commitment to make healthcare as easy for you as possible.

Stress tests

Stress tests are the most common diagnostic tests used to screen for heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, these five stress tests are the most common:

  • Exercise stress test
  • Exercise stress test with nuclear imaging
  • Medication (pharmacological) stress test with nuclear imaging
  • Exercise stress with echo imaging
  • Medication (dobutamine) stress test with echo imaging

During exercise stress tests, we will monitor your heart, blood pressure and oxygen level while you walk or run on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike. We recommend you wear a comfortable shirt, loose slacks or shorts and walking shoes. You can plan to spend up to 1½ hours with us for your test.

Comfortable clothing may also be best during a medication stress test because your care team will deliver medication through an IV. Again, your care team will monitor all vitals during the test and you can expect to spend up to 2½ hours at our office.

Your cardiologist will give you additional instructions about taking medications on the day of the test. Please do not smoke, drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks two hours before the test. Please bring your insurance cards and photo identification.

Our goal is to have your primary cardiologist available within 48 hours to read the results of your tests and sooner if there is an urgent medical need.

Before and during surgery

Before surgery, your doctor will give you pre-care instructions and we’ll give you a tour of our facility.

On the day of your surgery, our doctors coordinate with specialists, nurses, rehabilitation staff and others to make sure every aspect of your surgery is covered. You can expect:

  • one or several small incisions if you are having a minimally invasive procedure
  • an incision in your chest if you are having open-heart surgery
  • an incision in your leg to access your arteries or remove a vessel to be used for heart surgery

Learn more about how to prepare for surgery.

Post-surgery

Following surgery, you will be taken to our Intensive Care Unit (ICU). We’ll help you manage pain and make you comfortable. We also encourage friends and family to visit.

Learn more about our Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and our guidelines for family and friends visitation.

Once you’re stable, you’ll be transferred to one of our hospital rooms. It is typical for heart surgery patients to stay four to five days, although this depends on the type of surgery and how your recovery progresses.

Learn more about inpatient care.

Rehab

Once you’re ready to go home, your doctor will give you instructions about what to do to continue your recovery. You’ll also be given instructions about cardiac rehabilitation. A typical cardiac rehab program lasts four to 12 weeks with three sessions a week. Your plan will be tailored to your condition, needs and interests.

Learn what to expect from cardiac rehabilitation.

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