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Vascular & Endovascular Resources

Procedures

Cardiac surgery overview

Thoracic surgery overview

Electrophysiology overview

Interventional cardiology overview

Heart failure and testing overview

Vascular surgery overview

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement

Recovery

At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, your heart care doesn’t end when the surgery does. Excellent follow-up care is essential to your best recovery, which is why we offer you education, support and any counseling you need as you get back on your feet.

Help us care for you

After you go home, there are some things you’ll need to do to help us help you recover. You’ll receive instructions on:

  • Caring for your incision
  • When to take pain medication
  • When you can return to normal activities, including work
  • Signs and symptoms that require you to return to your provider for medical attention

What to expect during your recovery

All heart surgery is major surgery, even if you’ve had a minimally invasive procedure. During recovery, it’s important to be patient. While everyone’s experience is different, recovery always takes time. Our board-certified surgeons, advanced practice clinicians, nurses and other health care providers will take care of you and help you understand the next steps in your recovery.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is peripheral vascular disease?

    Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) refers to a partial or complete blockage of blood vessels that supply blood to important areas of the body other than the heart: the legs, brain, kidneys or arms. A narrow or blocked artery, whether in the heart or in another part of the body, is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

  • What causes peripheral vascular disease?

    More than half of individuals with peripheral vascular disease experience numbness, cramps or leg pain, but many attribute these symptoms to the normal process of aging and don't seek medical help. It’s estimated that only one quarter of people with PVD are receiving treatment.

  • Who is at risk for peripheral vascular disease?

    PVD affects one in 20 individuals over the age of 50 or about 10 million people in the United States. PVD can cause gangrene, which is a serious condition that may require amputation of a leg, foot or toes. People with the disease also are at higher risk for heart disease and stroke or problems with the circulatory system in the brain or kidneys.

  • What other risk factors exist with peripheral vascular disease?

    PVD and abdominal aneurysm have risk factors similar to those for heart attack and stroke. People with PVD are at three to four times higher risk for heart attack and stroke than people without PVD.

    Each of these conditions—along with diabetes—is called a coronary heart disease risk equivalent. A risk equivalent increases your risk for having a heart attack. For example, if you have any of the following conditions, your risk for having a heart attack over the next five to 10 years is as high or higher than someone who has already had a heart attack:

    • Diabetes, adult onset
    • Peripheral vascular disease
    • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
    • Stroke or brain artery blockage in the neck
    • Chronic kidney failure
    • Major uncontrolled risk factors

    If you have PVD, it’s important to have comprehensive treatment of all your risk factors, even if your cholesterol is not very high, your blood pressure is controlled and you have never smoked or have stopped smoking.

Peripheral vascular bypass

All heart surgery is major surgery, even if you’ve had a minimally invasive procedure. During recovery, it’s important to be patient. While everyone’s experience is different, recovery always takes time. Our board-certified surgeons, advanced practice clinicians, nurses and other health care providers will take care of you and help you understand the next steps in your recovery.