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After the procedure, you may be taken to the recovery room before being taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) to be closely monitored. Alternatively, you may be taken directly to the ICU from the operating room. You will be connected to monitors that will constantly display your electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) tracing, blood pressure, other pressure readings, breathing rate, and your oxygen level.
You may have a tube in your throat so that breathing can be assisted with a ventilator (breathing machine) until you are stable enough to breathe on your own. As you continue to wake up from the anesthesia and start to breathe on your own, the breathing machine will be adjusted to allow you to take over more of the breathing. When you are awake enough to breathe completely on your own and you are able to cough, the breathing tube will be removed.
After the breathing tube is out, your nurse will assist you to cough and take deep breaths every two hours. This may be uncomfortable due to soreness, but it is extremely important that you do this in order to keep mucus from collecting in your lungs and possibly causing pneumonia. Your nurse will show you how to hug a pillow tightly against your chest while coughing to help ease the discomfort.
You may receive pain medication as needed, either by a nurse, through an epidural catheter, or by administering it yourself through a device connected to your intravenous line.
You may be on special IV medications to help your blood pressure and your heart, and to control any problems with bleeding. As your condition stabilizes, these medications will be gradually decreased and discontinued as your condition allows.
Once the breathing tube has been removed and your condition has stabilized, you may start liquids to drink. Your diet may be gradually advanced to more solid foods as you are able to tolerate them.
If you have a drainage tube in your stomach, you will not be able to drink or eat until the tube is removed. The drainage tube will be removed when your intestinal function has returned to normal, usually two to three days after the procedure.
When your doctor determines that you are ready, you will be moved from the ICU to a post-surgical nursing unit. Your recovery will continue to progress. Your activity will be gradually increased as you get out of bed and walk around for longer periods of time. Your diet will be advanced to solid foods as tolerated.
Arrangements will be made for a follow-up visit with your doctor.
Once you are home, it will be important to keep the surgical area clean and dry. Your physician will give you specific bathing instructions. The sutures or surgical staples will be removed during a follow-up office visit, in the event they were not removed before leaving the hospital.
The surgical incision may be tender or sore for several days after an aneurysm repair procedure. Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your physician.
You should not drive until your physician tells you to. Other activity restrictions may apply.
Notify your doctor to report any of the following:
Fever and/or chills
Redness, swelling, or bleeding or other drainage from the incision site
Increase in pain around the incision site
Your doctor may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.