Physical Activity Following Open Heart Surgery


Sue Zanne Petersen RN, CCRN

Cardiovascular Service Patient Care Coordinator

Life style choices and genetics play a role in developing heart disease, also known as atherosclerosis. Genetics cannot be changed, however life style choices can be changed. The goal is to reduce the risk factors for heart disease that you have control over: cease smoking, lower blood pressure, strengthen heart muscle, reduce weight, increase HDL (good) cholesterol to help clear LDL (bad) cholesterol from arteries, control blood sugar and take prescribed medications.

Texoma Medical Center created a forum to share experiences with and learn from other people that have had open heart surgery, which includes Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) and valve replacements (aortic and mitral). “Open Hearts, Open Arms” open heart support group was formed to give people an opportunity to exchange heart healthy recipes, share tips on smoking cessation, talk about their feelings, learn about healthy exercise choices, everything that is needed to make life-style changes to reduce the risk of heart disease. The meetings are open to people who have had open heart surgery, their family and friends, as well as health care professionals.

The group meets quarterly in Classroom 2 on the first floor of Texoma Medical Center from 6-7 PM. Dr. Mackey Watkins spoke about the history of open heart surgery at Texoma Medical Center at the first meeting in November, 2010. The second meeting was held on Valentine’s Day, Monday 02/14/11. Two members of the Rehabilitation department presented to program on heart healthy physical activity following open heart surgery. A drawing was held at the meeting for three one-month memberships to Phase 3 Cardiac Rehab. The Phase 3 program includes access to the gym and the pool at Reba Rehab Center.

Planning is in progress for future meetings. Robert Vedner, Executive Chef at Texoma Medical Center will present a heart healthy cooking demonstration at the 05/09/11 meeting, with samples for attendees to taste. Dr. Aini will discuss coping strategies for depression, anxiety and anger that may follow open heart surgery at the 08/08/11 meeting.

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery bypasses clogged arteries in the heart. Surgery does not cure atherosclerosis, the disease that caused the clogged arteries. Risk factor reduction is essential to prevent advancement of the disease process of atherosclerosis. Come join us at “Open Hearts, Open Arms” to find support as you make life style changes to improve the quality of your life.