Key questions to ask before heart surgery, or any surgery for that matter

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Open heart surgery. Those words can be overwhelming when you hear them from your doctor. But while learning you need surgery can fill you with questions and maybe fear, that knowledge can be a powerful tool in preparing yourself for this, or any procedure.

Consumer Reports experts say asking the right questions during your consultation with a cardiac surgeon can help you approach your operation with confidence instead of fear. Among the key questions: Do I really need this surgery? and What are my other treatment options?

It’s also important to ask the doctor about his or her experience with the exact type of surgery you need. You should also ask about what happens after the procedure. How will I feel? Is there any special equipment that I need?

It will be helpful for you and anyone taking care of you to have the answers to all of these basic questions before you have the surgery, so you’ll know what to expect.

You can also connect with other patients who can share their personal experiences, through the American Heart Association’s support network.

Consumer Reports rated more than 500 hospitals on a number of key factors, including infections, safety and re-admissions after surgery. The CR hospital ratings include a breakdown of major hospitals in specific communities so you can compare the results.

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