Evidence-Based Recovery Support for Respiratory Splinting

nurse helping heart surgery patient

There is an ongoing discussion about how to best address the needs of patients who are recovering from heart surgery. With new technology, new medications, and continual anecdotal support for certain techniques, it’s no surprise that in our digital age there is a demand for more options and more evidence.

One type of post-op recovery support available is the Heart Hugger, a patient-operated harness that helps with pain management in addition to wound stability and sternal support.

Tips for Making a Heart Surgery Recovery Plan

man planning for heart surgery recovery

It’s a good idea to start making a recovery plan for your heart surgery as far in advance as possible. This gives you the opportunity to make sure everything is planned for – from finances to help at home to pain management. Here are some of the things you’ll want to cover on your plan.

Hospital Stay

As you prepare for surgery, one of the first areas to cover is your hospital stay. This is one of the most comprehensive checklists to cover, but here are some of the key items:

Benefits of Heart Hugger for Respiratory Splinting

respiratory system

If you are a medical professional, you are always looking for ways to improve the quality of your patients’ lives. One area that can be particularly beneficial for patients is recovery after surgery, and Heart Hugger can help.

Support Through Recovery

After surgery, your patient will have Heart Hugger put on them by a nurse, and it will stay on during the recovery process. Prior to surgery the patient should have been fitted and sized so everything is ready. The patient retains control of the harness and can use the handles to adjust pressure.

Heart Hugger works for the patient throughout recovery and facilitates an additional means of pain management. The overall process also helps patients feel in control of their comfort, aiding further in the ability to recover smoothly.

Planning for Heart Surgery Recovery at Home

Planning for Heart Surgery Recovery

Having surgery can be stressful, but planning out all the details ahead of time can help ease some worry because you’ll know exactly what to expect. Focus on each segment of the surgery – before, during, and after – so that you and your loved ones are as prepared as possible.

This guide will cover how to prepare for your time at home after the surgery.

Heart Hugger

Before surgery, be sure to buy your Heart Hugger so that your nurses can put it on you right after surgery. This will then prepare you for using it at home.


It’s a good idea to consider home mobility for after the surgery. For example, are there stairs or other things that can limit your movement? If you have an upstairs bedroom, move or rent a bed for downstairs use.

Heart Hugger Aids in Sternal Wound Dehiscence Prevention

preventing medical complications after heart surgery

Wound dehiscence is a serious postoperative condition that can be life-threatening. Wound complications following surgery occur in approximately 2.3% of cardiac or thoracic surgery patients. While most patients will not experience serious wound dehiscence, it's important to understand and follow the proper steps to prevent its occurrence.

Wound Dehiscence Prevention

Heart Hugger Sternum Support Harness provides wound support for cardiac or thoracic surgery patients. Heart Hugger allows patients to apply pressure as needed to support the sternal wound area. The harness encircles the rib cage, and patients squeeze the handles together to apply pressure as needed.

How HEART HUGGER Helps Relieve Suffering Following Heart Surgery

man relieved of pain after heart surgery

As a recovery nurse, you know that reassurance is just as important as the medical care you give your patients following surgery. They've trusted medical professionals to get them through surgery, but they know that for many of the long days and weeks that follow, they'll be at home navigating the recovery process.

For many heart surgery patients, the Heart Hugger Sternum Support Harness helps them better manage their pain during recovery. And because Heart Hugger lets patients decide when to apply pressure, they feel more in control of their pain and the entire healing process.

A Definitive Checklist for Before and After Heart Surgery

Heart surgery

Undergoing heart surgery creates a host of emotions. The best way to minimize nervousness is to prepare. Recovery is six to eight weeks long, and steps you take before and after will result in a successful recovery.

Preparing for Heart Surgery

  • Coordinate Support: Compile a list of individuals who are willing to help you, including two primary people who will take care of the bulk of your needs. Have them monitor the number of visitors who come to see you.

  • Prepare Your Body: Retaining a regular exercise schedule and booking massage therapy will aid in preparation for surgery as well as improve recovery time.

  • Set Up an Area of Comfort: Post-surgery you will be unable to lie in bed, so establish a recliner or other comfortable furniture before surgery.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Preventing Sternal Dehiscence

sternal dehiscence

Recovering from surgery requires care and consideration. In the case of open heart surgery, the sternal bone is cracked to access the heart and then sewn together with wires. Such a sternal wound has a few post-surgery consequences. One such complication is sternal dehiscence or the reopening of the sternal wound. Here are the do’s and don’ts of preventing sternal dehiscence.

What to Avoid Post-Surgery

It’s important to remember that it takes time to ease back into everyday activities. Refrain from returning to regular exercise routines if they include strenuous movement. Lifting heavy weights can cause excessive tension on wound openings. Holding back from asking for help can also negatively impact your recovery. Enlist the help of one dependable family member or friend in the first week or two. Preventing the sternal wound from opening should be your primary priority and will benefit from outside help.

What You Need to Know About Open Heart Surgery

Surgeon provides Sternum Stabilization

No matter where you go in the medical industry, there's always more to learn. That's especially true when it comes to open-heart surgery. Those three words, in particular, are often shrouded in misunderstanding, discomfort, and worry--so today we'll explore the basics of open-heart surgery, in hopes that understanding will lead to a bit more comfort.

Not Quite Rocket Science

Open-heart surgery is complicated and delicate, yes, but the details tend to get exaggerated in the public mind (which is fair, considering that open heart surgery used to be something very different than it is now). The truth is that open-heart surgery may not be simple, but it's not as bad as we tend to think. Here are some details that might change the way you see this procedure.

"Open-heart" doesn't mean what you think.


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