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Open-heart surgery requires both emotional and physical recovery

Patients of open-heart surgery — with its “brush with mortality” — are often surprised how taxing the emotional recovery can be. 

“When the body is not feeling great, the mind is not that far behind,” said psychologist William Robiner, director of health psychology at the University of Minnesota. “Your body needs time to heal, and your head, also.”

Reporter Randy Furst is back at the Minnesota Star Tribune newsroom after his open-heart surgery. STS member Dr. Frazier Eales performed the operation in August 2019. 

“Open-heart surgery…is a major dose of trauma,” said Eales, 67, who has done, by his own estimate, 8,000 such operations. “It is the most physically traumatic thing that happens [to a person] in their lives. I don’t think you can understand the physical trauma unless you’ve been through it. I haven’t been so I don’t think I fully understand it.”

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