I used to work as an RN on a cardiac surgery unit and currently work a few hours a week in a outpatient cardiac rehab.
The duration of sternal precautions (the limitations given to you to protect your breastbone) is ultimately up to your surgeon but typically last 6 weeks.
Following the discontinuation of sternal precautions, how active a lifestyle you can return to depends on a number of things. The biggest consideration is if your heart muscle suffered any damage prior to surgery (i.e., from a heart attack). I think that your medical cardiologist will be able to give you a better idea of if/when you can return to normal activity. Under the best circumstances my best guess would be a tad over 6 months.
I highly suggest entering into a cardiac rehab program when you are cleared to do so by your doctor. Insurance normally covers up to 36 of these visits which consist of exercising while on cardiac monitor. A big benefit that I see to a cardiac rehab is that it can give those who have undergone cardiac surgery the confidence to be active again. (Not all cardiologists in this area automatically refer patients to cardiac rehab so you may have to ask for it.)
Feel free to send me a PM if you have any other questions I can help you with.
Edited by Valpine (01/25/14 03:51 AM)