After your surgery, your lungs are less inflated and you may have some phlegm. It is important that you re-inflate your lungs and clear any phlegm in order to avoid a chest infection. The way to do this is by early mobilization (e.g. sitting out of bed, deep breathing exercises and walking).
It is also important that you maintain good blood flow around your body. The way to do this is by regular arm and leg exercises, as well as early mobilization.
During the first 8-10 weeks after surgery:
The Active Cycle of Breathing (ACBT) is a breathing technique used to clear phlegm and re-inflate your lungs.
There are three parts to ACBT:
Firstly, find a comfortable and well-supported position. Ideally sit upright in the chair or upright in bed. Relax your neck, upper chest, shoulders and arms. Your physical therapist will demonstrate breathing techniques.
Coughing is important in order to clear your chest. To lessen the discomfort of coughing, you may want to hold a rolled up towel to your chest, over the wound site. Ask your nurse to provide the towel.
If you are struggling to clear your phlegm with coughing, please try the breathing exercises below as they will lessen the amount of coughing required in order to clear your phlegm.
Be out of bed as much and as often as possible, especially during meals and for using the bathroom.
Perform upper and lower extremity exercises two to three times per day.
Early walking is important during your recovery. Walking will naturally make you take deep breaths and will therefore help to re-inflate your lungs and loosen any phlegm. Your physical therapist and nurse will assist you to start walking. When walking, you should feel slightly breathless, but still be able to hold a conversation. This will help ensure you are exercising at the correct level.
The physical therapy team can also give you advice on how to best manage your daily activities and increase your exercise tolerance once home.
Ensure that your pain is under control. Some discomfort is normal, but if it is affecting your breathing or movement, ask your nurse to provide you with some pain relief.
Prior to going home, the therapy team will also provide you with some general exercises designed to increase your strength and exercise tolerance.
You are advised to continue these exercises until your Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase 2 begins.
If you have any questions regarding advice on your recovery, the therapy team will work with you to meet your individual needs.
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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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