After heart surgery: Answers to patients’ frequent questions

taste 320x320Many patients come to me with questions about what they should expect in the days and months following heart surgery. Overall, no two heart patient experiences will be the same, but there is general information you should be aware of when recovering from surgery.

“I’ve noticed a loss or change in my sense of taste after heart surgery. Is this normal?”

This is likely due to a combination of factors, including:

  • Your age
  • Length of the bypass procedure
  • Tubing used for the bypass machines
  • Your response to the anesthesia
  • Your response to the cardiac medications, many of which may be new to you

The good news is that if you’ve experienced a loss or change in your sense of taste after heart surgery, it usually resolves itself within several weeks. It is rare for this to occur and be a permanent issue.

Remember, it is important for heart patients to maintain a nutritional food plan following surgery as their body heals. Food should be low in sodium and low to moderate in fat. It’s also important to eat enough protein to heal after surgery. Foods that are high in protein and low in salt, saturated fat and trans fats include fresh skinless chicken (not injected with salt or broth), fresh or frozen fish, lean beef, pork or lamb, skim milk and fat-free yogurt. Cultured foods like yogurt also contain “probiotics,” which help restart your digestive tract after your operation. Continue reading