Before Your Surgery

It is important for you to stop smoking as soon as you know you are going to have surgery. If you quit smoking, you will have less difficulty with breathing and clearing your secretions after surgery, and it will decrease stress on your heart and the incision. Speak with your primary care physician or cardiologist for treatments that can help you stop smoking.

Preadmission Testing

You will be scheduled for a preadmission testing day about one to two weeks prior to your scheduled surgery. You’ll receive a letter with the appointment location, date and time, and map/parking information. Please remember to eat a regular breakfast on this day and take your medications as you normally would. Please bring a list of your medications and doses with you. This appointment may take four to six hours.

You will meet with your surgeon and a nurse practitioner, who will explain your surgical procedure, review your health history, and perform a physical exam. You’ll have blood work, urinalysis, ECG (electrocardiogram), and chest x-ray done. You will also have an appointment with an anesthesiologist to explain the anesthesia and procedures that are required prior to and during your operation. Additional testing may include:

  • Cardiac echocardiogram
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Carotid ultrasound
  • Vein mapping lower extremities
  • Chest angiogram/chest CT scan
  • Pulmonary function test
  • Dental clearance

If you’re having heart valve surgery, you will need a dental clearance letter stating you have no dental infections.


  • You will be given instructions regarding medications you need to stop prior to surgery, including when to stop blood thinners, such as Coumadin, and antiplatelet drugs, such as Plavix.
  • Nonsteroidal medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox) products must be stopped one week prior to surgery.
  • Take Tylenol for pain control as needed.
  • Continue taking aspirin.


  • Rest as much as possible while waiting for your scheduled surgical date.
  • Avoid strenuous activity prior to surgery.
  • Tell your cardiologist if your angina symptoms worsen.