Managing at Home
You and your family must start planning for your return home before your admission to the hospital. For most people who undergo this procedure, it takes up to a week to recover.
Most patients return home after two days in the hospital.
You should not lift, push or pull anything that weighs more than 10 pounds for the first five days after discharge. Even though you may feel ready to resume your normal activity, we recommend you take it easy for at least one month after discharge. If you need to climb stairs, try to limit this to a couple of trips a day for the first week. When you are stronger, you may go up and down stairs as desired.
Continue with any physical activity plan you may have started in the hospital.
Why Your Physical Activity Plan Is So Important
After your MitraClip procedure, your physical activity program is designed to help you recover and get your energy back.
Exercise helps you:
- Feel less tired
- Feel less short of breath
- Sleep better
- Gain more energy to do what you love
- Improve your mood
- Have less difficulty with daily activities
- Feel more confident and in control
Learn to Balance Your Activity with Rest
Give yourself time to get back to normal. Most patients say it takes about a month to feel fully recovered. Use the tips below to save your energy and help your recovery:
- Prioritize: Decide which tasks you really need to do yourself and which tasks you can ask someone else to do.
- Plan: Do the things that use up your energy when you are feeling your best. Make sure you build in rest or relaxation periods during the day.
- Pace: Break down hard jobs into smaller tasks and take regular breaks before you become tired.
- Position: If you sit to perform a task, you will use 25 per cent less energy than standing. Avoid unnecessary bending or overhead reaching.
- Organize your time so that you take fewer trips up and down stairs.
- Double the recipe when you cook, and freeze some for another day.
- Use lightweight pots and pans for cooking.
- Consider equipment such as a shower chair, long-handled reacher or grabber, and long-handled shoe horn.
- Get extra rest the day before a celebration.
- Get extra rest during times of emotional stress or illness.
- Use a weekly schedule.
Your Walking Program
Exercise should be fun, easy to do and part of your everyday life. Walking is one of the best exercises for improving your health after a MitraClip procedure.
Plan to walk every day. Have someone walk with you for the first couple of weeks. You should be able to carry on light conversation while you walk. If you are too short of breath, slow your pace or take a brief rest.
Begin with short periods at a slow pace, such as two to five minutes, once a day. Continue for about two weeks, and if it feels comfortable, gradually increase the length of time you walk for another two weeks. Continue until you reach your goal.
Your goal is to work up to 20 to 30 minutes of walking every day.
If you can’t walk five minutes without stopping, try interval training:
- Walk for two to five minutes and then rest for two to five minutes.
- Repeat as many times as you are able.
- Gradually decrease the resting time between intervals.
While you are exercising:
- You should be able to carry on light conversation.
- Start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down (e.g., slower walking, seated or standing exercises).
- Walk on flat ground (avoid hills).
- Wait at least one hour after a meal before exercising.
- Exercise at a time of day when you feel rested—generally the morning rather than afternoon.
- Avoid extreme heat or cold. You might consider walking indoors at a mall, using a treadmill (with no incline) or a stationary bicycle (with little or no tension).
- Avoid heavy lifting or pushing.
- Avoid activities that involve lifting weight above your head.
- Avoid exercises that make you strain, grunt or hold your breath.
- You should be breathing like you normally do in your resting state within 10 minutes of completing your exercise. If not, reduce the length or intensity of exercise next time.
When to Stop an Activity
Always listen to your body. Stop the activity if you:
- Cannot carry on a conversation without being short of breath
- Feel weak or dizzy
- Feel sick to your stomach (nauseated)
- Feel your heart is pounding or racing
- Have any discomfort
Stop and rest. Sit in a comfortable chair.
If these symptoms persist, call 9-1-1.
|Warm-Up: Sitting Exercises|
|Cool-Down: Sitting Exercises|
Cardiac Rehabilitation programs provide more specific exercise and lifestyle guidelines. There is no cost for participation and options include on-site or home-based programs. To get started, call 613-696-7068.
Tips to Stay Active
- Include a variety of activities that you enjoy.
- Any amount of activity is better than none at all.
- Stick with it until it becomes a habit.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
- Invite a friend to join you for a walk.
- Schedule exercise into your day.
- Set reasonable goals for yourself.
- Keep an exercise journal to track your progress.
What to Watch For
Examine the insertion site in your groin every day. It is normal for it to feel like a small dime or pea-sized lump that may be slightly red and tender and, occasionally, to have some clear drainage.
Call your doctor or the Nursing Coordinator immediately if you notice:
- A lump that is getting bigger
- Any area of redness or warmth
- Any kind of yellow or pink drainage or poorly healing incision
- Unusual pain in the groin region and/or radiating down the leg or felt in your lower back
Pain/Discomfort: Expect the discomfort in your groin to gradually decrease as you continue to heal. If you begin to have more pain or any chest pain or breathlessness, contact your doctor or the Nursing Coordinator.
Other Symptoms: Call your doctor or the Nursing Coordinator if you develop a fever or flu-like symptoms, such as feeling unusually tired.
Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department if you experience:
- Increasing shortness of breath
- Irregular heart rate
- Numbness or weakness in your arms or legs
- Blurred vision
If you need close follow-up after discharge, you may be referred to the Telehome Monitoring Program. If you are referred, the nurse from Telehome Monitoring will meet with you in the hospital and show you how to use the special equipment before you go home.
Daily Weight Checks
While you are recovering in the hospital, your weight will be checked daily. A sudden weight gain might be an early sign that you are retaining extra fluid. When you go home, you need to continue to weigh yourself daily for the first month to make sure you are not building up extra fluid.
Before you are discharged, you will be given a daily weight-tracker form for recording your weight. The nurse will review with you how to weigh yourself every day and when you need to call us.
When you are discharged from the Heart Institute, expect to have new prescriptions written for you. Some of the medications will be the same as what you were taking before and some will be different.
Before you go home, it is important that you and your family understand your prescriptions and how to take each medication. If you have any questions, make sure you ask your nurse before you leave the hospital. Please contact your doctor or the Nursing Coordinator if you have questions when you return home.
You may need to take anti-platelet medication. These medications make your blood less sticky and help prevent clots forming on your new device. If you have a history of an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation), your medication may be changed to a different type of blood thinner that is more effective for patients with a valve device.
|Name of Anti-platelet Medication||Action||Potential Side Effects|
ASA (Aspirin®, ECASA)