After minimally invasive heart surgery, a patient will typically spend one day in the cardiac surgery intensive care unit. By the next day, with no complications, a patient can be moved to a regular room. Cardiac rehabilitation, in some fashion, can begin almost immediately. It may be as simple as swinging your legs over the side of the bed or walking a few steps. These are important milestones in regaining your independence after surgery.
Most patients will be discharged within three to four days after minimally invasive heart surgery. The nursing staff and your physician will give you guidelines on incision care, diet and activity levels. Your rehabilitation will continue as an outpatient once you are home. Many patients resume their regular routine within two weeks after surgery, including driving.
If your work is sedentary (a lot of sitting down), you might return to work within 2-4 weeks. You may be ready for heavy lifting or more strenuous activities in 6-8 weeks.