Self Management after a Cardiac Event

After you are discharged from the hospital, we want you to be as healthy and safe at home as possible. By carefully following all instructions given to you by your care team, you can help maintain and improve your own health and avoid another hospital stay.

TAKE MEDICATIONS AS DIRECTED

You will likely be sent home with prescriptions for several medications. It is very important that you take them exactly as prescribed and NOT stop taking any of them unless directed to do so by your cardiologist. You may also be prescribed nitroglycerin tablets which should be taken at the first sign of chest pain (angina).

It is very important that you keep an up-to-date list of your medications along with the dosage and frequency and take them exactly as prescribed.

ATTEND YOUR SCHEDULED FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENT(S)

After discharge from the hospital, you will need to be seen by your cardiologist or primary care doctor to check on your progress and to ensure your prescribed medications are working. He or she may adjust the dosage and/or frequency of your medications based on the results of this follow-up exam, so it is very important that you keep all scheduled appointments. Be sure to follow-up with your doctor at least once a month for three months. You can easily schedule your appointments online or by calling 216-844-2273.

MONITOR YOUR HEALTH AT HOME

Be aware of the signs and symptoms of another cardiac event and know when to seek medical help.

GOOD TO GO: Tips to Help You Stay Healthy Between Appointments

Follow these simple steps at home to monitor your health and manage your symptoms.

  1. Take all medications exactly as prescribed.
  2. Follow healthy eating habits and the cardiac diet prescribed by your care team. Include lots of fruits and vegetables, avoid fried foods and try some of these heart healthy recipes.
  3. Avoid salty foods and do not add salt to food. Ask your doctor how much sodium you can safely have each day and work hard to avoid exceeding that amount. Read food labels carefully for sodium content and put the salt shaker away.
  4. Work with your doctor to determine your goal weight and work hard to reach and maintain that goal.
  5. Do not drink alcohol.
  6. Exercise is important to stay healthy. Discuss with your doctor the best exercise plan for you. Always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
  7. Stop smoking and avoid being around others who smoke. If you are a current smoker, resources to help you quit include:
    • UH pamphlet, “Smoking Cessation: How to Be a Quitter”
    • Tobacco Intervention & Psychosocial Support (TIPS) for patients with active cancer. Call 216-368-5643.
    • The Ohio Smoking Cessation Hotline. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

CAUTION: When to Call Your Doctor

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should call your doctor’s office immediately. You may need your medications adjusted and/or blood tests. Continue taking your medications as ordered until you see your doctor.

  • More shortness of breath
  • Need extra pillows to sleep
  • Weight gain of 3 or more pounds in one day
  • Swelling of feet, ankles or legs
  • Persistent dry, hacking cough
  • Feeling more tired
  • Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Any new symptoms that cause concern

STOP: Call 9-1-1

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

  • Chest pain or tightness that does not go away even after taking nitroglycerin
  • Pain or discomfort in your jaw, neck or back
  • For women, pain in the stomach and/or upper back
  • Sweating and/or nausea
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Trouble breathing when at rest and/or lying down (must sit up to breathe)
  • Weakness, lightheadedness or dizziness, or feeling faint
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