A new study found that patients who are married have better chances of surviving a heart surgery and beyond.
There are several factors that affect both how people get heart disease, and their chances of surviving and thriving after opting for cardiac surgery. Apparently, based on findings by a research published in JAMA Surgery, being happily married is one way to boost a patient's chances for survival post a heart operation.
"We know from other studies that social support itself is critical for heart health, and being socially isolated is a risk factor for heart disease," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, Director of Women's Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital, who was not involved in the study.
In the research conducted by authors from the University of Pennsylvania on over 1,500 adults 50 years old and above who just had cardiac surgery, patients who were separated, divorced or widowed were 40 percent more likely to die from their condition or develop a new disability or illness during the first few years after surgery compared to patients who are married.
"While it has been established that the chances of survival following major surgery may be better among married versus unmarried persons, it is not known how marriage 'marries' with actual postoperative function," said Dr. Mark Neuman from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania."
While this may be good news for people who are married, how can patients who are not increase their chances for survival after a heart surgery?
All post cardiac surgery patients, married or not, are at risk for several complications, with some of them being life threatening. To ensure survival, strict observation and quality care from the medical staff and compliance of patients in care instructions and medications are all essential.
Depending on health status and the type of surgery performed, postoperative patients will need to spend at least a day in the hospital's ICU with a breathing tube. The tube, as well as other bandages or dressings will be removed the day after, provided that there are no complications.
While at the hospital, patients are encouraged to ambulate as their capabilities or restrictions allow, from assisted walking to even just moving around the bed. They are also encouraged to stick to dietary restrictions, participate in breathing therapies and comply with prescribed medication regimens.
Once at home, patients are advised to engage in mild to moderate physical activity, to avoid driving if they aren't feeling well and to avoid lifting anything heavier than ten pounds. Regular check-ups and rehabilitations are also important to ensure that recovery is going smoothly.