Sternal Precautions – After Cardiac Surgery
This handout will help you learn how to protect your chest after cardiac surgery. A nurse will go over this with you before you go home.
Your doctor has advised you to follow these guidelines for _________weeks. Doing so will help your chest bone (sternum) heal.
- Do not lift more than 8 pounds. (A gallon of milk weighs 8 pounds.)
- Do not push or pull with your arms when moving in bed and getting out of bed.
- Do not flex or extend your shoulders over 90°.
- Avoid reaching too far across your body.
- Avoid twisting or deep bending.
- Do not hold your breath during activity.
- Brace your chest when coughing or sneezing. This is vital during the first 2 weeks at home.
- No driving until cleared by your cardiac surgeon.
- No over the shoulder activity until cleared by your cardiac surgeon.
- If you feel any pulling or stretching in your chest, stop what you are doing. Do not repeat the motion that caused this feeling.
- Report any clicking or popping noise around your chest bone to your surgeon right away.
Surgeon’s Name: _______________________________________________
Clinic: (608) 263-1530
After hours, nights, weekends and holidays the clinic number will be answered by the paging operator. Ask for the cardiac surgery resident on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7097.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 04/01/2013
Copyright © 03/29/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6512
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