Open Heart Surgery Recovery

I spent a great deal of time recovering post op open heart patients in my nursing career. To learn this skill there was one article that was particularly helpful in Heart & Lung: The Journal of Critical Care written by Ann P. Weiland RN, MS and William F. Walker MD titled “Physiology Principles and Clinical Sequelae of Cardiopulmonary Bypass” (Vol 15, No.1, pp 34-39, copyright 1986 by C.V. Mosby Company). When pressed to do inservices or teaching new staff the recovery of open heart patients this was my “go to” reference of choice. Since that time the materials used and components of the Cardiopulmonary Bypass (CPB) machine have changed and improved but the human physiology and principles addressed in the article are the same. The “physiological derangements” and “altered cellular biochemistry” seen with patients who have undergone CPB persist for a time during the post op period. During my 35 years in the ICU Ms. Weiland’s article stood the test of time. This reference prepared me for the changes I would see in the first 24-36 hours as the patient normalized after undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass during their open heart surgery. I wished I would have written a thank you to Ms. Weiland RN and Dr. Walker MD for their article. It helped me enormously in dealing with, understanding the complexities, and treating patients recovering from open heart procedures and was a great reference over the years.

Teaching Poster Illustrating Pulmonary Artery Catheter Pathway through the heart.

Published by starvingcartoonist

StarvingCartoonist is a former ICU nurse that has worked at numerous civilian, military, and veteran Intensive Care Units across the country for better than three decades but has been sketching, drawing, and cartooning since he first picked up a crayon in kindergarten. Dabbled with political cartooning, writing, and general illustrations but the bread and butter came from health care. Recently left professional nursing to concentrate on camping, hiking, nature, the outdoors, trees, trails, and peace of mind. Love a campfire; rather watch it than TV. Avoid bureaucracy, career ladders, ladder climbers, and hero worship at all cost. Evenings spent with a good book, reading until the book smacks my nose when I doze off. Generally up at sun rise, listen to the mourning doves, put the coffee on, and play it by ear the rest of the day.

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