What is a cardiac chair?

Cardiac chairs improve circulation and breathing for patients who are recovering from heart surgery.

A cardiac chair is a type of medical device designed to help people recover faster from heart surgery and respiratory illness. In most cases, it goes from fully flat to fully vertical with the touch of a few buttons. The chair works a lot like a hospital bed in terms of quick adjustment, but is usually capable of doing much more than simply reclining or supporting the patient – ​​most models are made up of several moving parts that form a true chair, supporting the back. and the patient’s buttocks, as well as the arms and legs. Heart health experts often recommend this type of device to people who are recovering from heart surgery. Sitting supported can help in the healing process, and the mechanization of the chair can avoid strains and injuries, especially for people who are already in a fragile or compromised state. Most chairs are in hospitals and should only be used during immediate recovery, although people with ongoing problems or long-term care needs can also rent or buy one to use at home.

How it works

Cardiac patients are often advised to sit up 24 hours after the procedure, once they are conscious and without ventilatory support.

The device is made to serve as a fully reclining bed at times, but can be adjusted to form what otherwise looks like a somewhat bulky but normal chair. Its main objective is to lift the patient from the waist up without requiring him to move much, if at all. Medical experts generally agree that an upright sitting position provides more relief to the lungs and can improve circulation. Unlike a hospital bed, the chair is generally easier to adjust; it also has multiple movable sections instead of a single mattress. Mattresses can often adjust a bit, but are typically more for basic reclines and props than for real expert support.

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Standing up too quickly can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, causing dizziness and even fainting.

Many chairs are on wheels, which can help patients who are already seated to be transferred to other departments or hospital rooms without having to move, as would be necessary in the transition from bed to wheelchair. These devices are also not limited to people in cardiac centers. People with respiratory conditions may benefit from lifting to sitting positions and are sometimes placed on these devices, as can people who are recovering from other major procedures or surgeries that involve healing in the chest or torso region.

Main benefits of chair therapy

Sitting up too quickly after a surgical procedure can cause dizziness.

If a patient who underwent cardiac surgery tried to move from a flat position to a sitting position in a hospital bed, he or she would risk straining the fresh sutures and putting undue pressure on the recovering heart. This movement is especially difficult for larger or weaker patients, even with medical assistance.

Sitting up too quickly after a surgical procedure can also cause dizziness and increase the chance that the patient will fall. With a cardiac chair, the patient or staff can slowly adjust the chair to a seated position from the waist up and then adjust the bottom of the chair from the knee down. By doing this, the patient does not put pressure on the sutures, heart or lungs and can adjust to the changed position without dizziness.

Cardiac recovery basics

The theoretical basis for having heart patients sit during recovery has been promoted in medical circles for decades. In the early 1940s, medical professionals discovered that patients who had undergone surgery or who had gone through cardiac arrest recovered faster and more fully if they started to walk sooner or later. Doctors started using chair therapy—that is, having patients move from bed to chair to sit for parts of the day—because seated patients had less effort to breathe and improved circulation than those who were sitting. were in recumbent positions throughout the stay. In the early 1950s, short walks were also recommended. The cardiac chair made it much easier for medical staff and patients to sit and stand.

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use at home

The vast majority of these chairs are used in hospitals, particularly in cardiac wards. They tend to be very expensive and the number of moving parts they need means they often need more regular maintenance than other devices of simpler construction. It is generally somewhat rare for people to have these chairs in their homes, although this may be recommended for people with chronic heart breathing problems, especially those who are elderly or particularly frail. The purchase price is often very high, but in many cases they can be leased from medical supply companies for a period of months or years.

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