How to Return to Work Smoothly After a Heart Attack or Surgery


Just how long you need off work will depend on you, how quick your recovery is and the work that you do. Doctors usually advise waiting at least six to eight weeks after a heart attack and a similar time after surgery, but many people need longer than that. Your doctor can help you decide when you are fit to go back. By and large, if you work in an office or from home you will usually be able to return sooner than someone who has to make a long, exhausting journey or who does heavy, manual work.

Howard, who returned to his work as a lecturer three months after a heart bypass, says: ‘I returned to work but because my arm was not in a sling and I did not seem obviously any different, some people did not realize what I had gone through.’

How to Return to Work Smoothly After a Heart Attack or Surgery  Ready to Go to Work

Clive returned to work six weeks after his bypass. ‘I do regret going back to work so quickly. The first day back I was walking from Whitehall to Waterloo, which normally takes about 20 minutes, I got so breathless and the angina was so bad that I had to stop and hold on to the bridge.’

Such an experience, though not dangerous, can damage your confidence. Clive could have helped himself in several ways – by taking his time and pacing himself rather than trying to rush to work in the same time he had taken before his operation, by taking his angina medication before he started his walk to work or by using relaxation and breathing to help control his angina.

Some employers may agree to give you extended leave to give you time to get back to normal. Others will agree to you coming back on a part-time basis at first. If you think this would help you have a word with your boss to see if it can be arranged.

Just how long you need off work will depend on you, how quick your recovery is and the work that you do. Doctors usually advise waiting at least six to eight weeks after a heart attack and a similar time after surgery, but many people need longer than that. Your doctor can help you decide when you are fit to go back. By and large, if you work in an office or from home you will usually be able to return sooner than someone who has to make a long, exhausting journey or who does heavy, manual work.

Howard, who returned to his work as a lecturer three months after a heart bypass, says: ‘I returned to work but because my arm was not in a sling and I did not seem obviously any different, some people did not realize what I had gone through.’

Clive returned to work six weeks after his bypass. ‘I do regret going back to work so quickly. The first day back I was walking from Whitehall to Waterloo, which normally takes about 20 minutes, I got so breathless and the angina was so bad that I had to stop and hold on to the bridge.’

Such an experience, though not dangerous, can damage your confidence. Clive could have helped himself in several ways – by taking his time and pacing himself rather than trying to rush to work in the same time he had taken before his operation, by taking his angina medication before he started his walk to work or by using relaxation and breathing to help control his angina.

Some employers may agree to give you extended leave to give you time to get back to normal. Others will agree to you coming back on a part-time basis at first. If you think this would help you have a word with your boss to see if it can be arranged.

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Related posts:

  1. How to Learn to Pace Yourself After Heart Surgery
  2. How to Change Your Job Because of Heart Disease
  3. How to Live With Angina Associated with Heart Disease
  4. How to do Relaxation Exercises after Heart Surgery
  5. How to help your Doctor help you During Heart Disease

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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