Patients with mechanical heart valves, some patients with tissue heart valves, irregular heart rhythms, history of strokes or "mini-strokes", clots in the legs/arms or clot in the lungs will be sent home with coumadin (also called Warfarin)
It is EXTREMLY important for patients to have their INR (Bleeding Time) checked frequently. Blood work is usually required 2-3 days after hospital discharge and can be accomplished by laboratory, your local physician or by a visiting nurse service. Your surgeon does not monitor your INR level, the physician assigned to follow you (ex Cardiologist) should monitor your INR level to determine the correct medication doses. Also, please note different foods make drastic changes to your INR level and should be discussed with your physician.
During your hospital discharge, you will be given instructions including medication prescriptions. Please make sure to inform the nurse practitioner which medications you were taking before the surgery and if you need to continue them after surgery.
During the first 2 months, we generally tell patients to eat whatever you want regardless of fat or salt intake. We prefer you ingest enough protein and caloroes to help you heal. After a couple of months, you should return to low fat, low cholesterol, low salt diet unless you are on a strict diet.