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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are frequently asked questions about the Miami Valley Hospital Cardiology Program.

Q: What are the warning signs of a heart attack?
A: Symptoms may include:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breathe
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Nausea or lightheadedness

If you find that you are having one or a combination of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Q: What are the signs for cardiac arrest?
A: Signs of cardiac arrest may include:

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness (no response to tapping on shoulders)
  • No normal breathing (the victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds)
  • Chest discomfort with exertion
  • Shortness of breath with exertion

If you find that you are having one or a combination of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Q: Is physical activity safe for people with heart problems?
A: For most heart patients, physical activity is not only safe, it is part of the treatment. Be sure to talk with your doctor before you start your physical activity program. Your doctor may want you to have an exercise stress test to help determine a safe level of activity.  Learn more about MVH Cardiac Rehab Program.

Q: Can I eat eggs?
A: One egg yolk (the yellow part) contains about 200 mg of cholesterol. People with heart disease should limit egg yolks to two per week. Egg whites don’t contain cholesterol and are a good source of protein, so they’re fine. You can also use cholesterol-free egg substitutes. Learn more about MVH Cardiac Rehab Program.

Q: How does salt affect the heart?
A: Salt contains sodium in the chemical form of sodium chloride. About 40 percent of salt is sodium. Eating a lot of sodium can make more work for your heart, especially if you have high blood pressure or heart failure. About 75 percent of sodium in the diet comes from processed foods and beverages. Learn more about MVH Cardiac Rehab Program.

Q: What effects do the different types of fats have on heart health?
A: LDL produced naturally by your body, saturated fat, trans-fatty acids, and dietary cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats appear to not raise LDL cholesterol; some studies suggest they might even help lower LDL cholesterol slightly when eaten as part of a low-saturated and trans-fat diet. Learn moreOff Site Icon

Q: How long do I have to watch what I eat?
A: As long as you want to continue to be heart healthy, make healthy eating a priority for the rest of your life.

Q: How long will I be in the hospital after open heart surgery?
A: The average stay is 5 to 6 days.

Q: After open heart surgery, how long will I be on the ventilator?
A: The average ventilator time is 4 to 5 hours.

Q: How soon will I be out of bed after open heart surgery?
A: Typically, the night of surgery or the next day.

Q: Will I have a lot of pain with open heart surgery?
A: You will have some post-operative pain. Pain medications will be ordered for you. We continually assess your pain and working with you to keep you comfortable.

Q: Can my family visit when I am in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit?
A: Yes, your family can visit you after surgery in the Heart and Vascular ICU.

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