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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

When to Call/Follow-up

Please call your physician if you have:

  • Chest pain not related to your incision site
  • Weight gain of more than three pounds in one day
  • A temperature of 101.5° F or higher
  • Increased shortness of breath
  • The sensation that your heart seems to be beating very slow or fast, or is skipping beats

If you are taking blood thinners such as Coumadin®, call your physician if you have:

  • Bloody or dark (black) tarry stools
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding
  • Frequent or severe headaches
  • Dark or bloody urine

Follow-up Care

It is important to keep all appointments for blood work, tests and physician exams. You also will receive an order for a chest X-ray. On the day you leave the hospital, the nurse will arrange a follow-up physician's appointment. If this is not done, please call the Division of Cardiac Surgery at Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation at 312-695-2885 to set up an appointment. You will see a nurse practitioner or your surgeon during this visit.

Please note that it is important for you to see either your referring physician or cardiologist within two to three weeks of going home.

Talk with your physician about:

  • A referral to a cardiac rehabilitation or routine exercise program
  • Returning to work
  • Driving
  • Your current medications (your primary care physician or cardiologist should refill your prescriptions after the first month upon returning home)
  • Any questions you may have


For more information regarding heart surgery, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 1-866-662-8467 or request a first time appointment online.

Last UpdateMarch 16, 2011