View Full Version : Caffeine After Surgery

October 13th, 2006, 04:46 PM
A question for those of you who've had AVR surgery:

Did you refrain from caffeine use afterwards, and if so, for how long?

In an e-mail exchange with Dr. Stelzer the other day, he mentioned that he recommends his patients stay off caffeine for a few weeks after surgery, because doing so can help minimize the risk of atrial fibrillation.

Since my recent Day Surgery Debacle (henceforth to be known as my "DSD") I've not had caffeine... just because I was trying to stay well hydrated at first, but, over the last few days, because I figure I'll have to give it up at the time of my AVR surgery anyway, so why not stay clean now... and I used to drink coffee from early morning up until about 5pm daily.

I thought about this question while reading Kate's thread on alcohol...

October 13th, 2006, 05:05 PM
Because I still have some issues with arrhythmia I am told to stay away from caffeine. So Dr. Stelzer's instructions sound very practical.

Christina L
October 13th, 2006, 05:05 PM
but speaking from experience, every time I have tried to go back on "just a little" caffeinated coffee, I invariably get PVCs/PACs that are a real nuisance to get rid of.

I had this happen a few weeks ago. I am not sure if it was caffeine, but right before I had the week-long run of hard, pronounced PACs, I had a big cup of Joe from Starbuck's. :(

I went off caffeine before my surgery and after until about a year after the surgery, then tried just ONE cup a morning, then got PACs, then quit, then started up again recently, and now have quit again. I think I will stick to decaf and an occasional (once a month!) cup of 100-proof.

I think it is an individual thing - some people caffeine does not bother, but I would do as your cardio as told you - no caffeine for a good long while after your surgery. A-fib is not fun. I had a run of it two weeks after surgery and I was cardioverted.

Christina L

Christina L
October 13th, 2006, 05:07 PM
Once your body has adjusted to no caffeine, you will really feel better and less jittery, etc. Decaf tastes just as good (in my opinion).

Right now I am on an apple cider with cinnamon sprinkled on top kick. Better than coffee!

Christina L

Turkey Hunter
October 13th, 2006, 05:09 PM
A question for those of you who've had AVR surgery:

Did you refrain from caffeine use afterwards, and if so, for how long?

In an e-mail exchange with Dr. Stelzer the other day, he mentioned that he recommends his patients stay off caffeine for a few weeks after surgery, because doing so can help minimize the risk of atrial fibrillation.

Since my recent Day Surgery Debacle (henceforth to be known as my "DSD") I've not had caffeine... just because I was trying to stay well hydrated at first, but, over the last few days, because I figure I'll have to give it up at the time of my AVR surgery anyway, so why not stay clean now... and I used to drink coffee from early morning up until about 5pm daily.

I thought about this question while reading Kate's thread on alcohol...


Take this as a time to swear off the stuff permanently.
I was a major coffee addict. Today, I drink two cups of "real decaf" each am.
My advise, eliminate it now; best move you can make !!


October 13th, 2006, 05:18 PM
Man, I echo Ben Smith. I was a coffee junkie for 35 years, never dreamed I'd get off the stuff. But now I drink Illy decafe in the am and it's wonderful! I know real java would crank me up, but doing without it and getting amped with exercise is better, I think.

I just brew one cup at a time in the little melita filter.


October 13th, 2006, 05:28 PM
I've given up alot of vices, but coffee is one I still hold onto.;)

I was pleasantly surprised that they let me have coffee in the hospital, but I didn't drink any for the first ten days after I got home (I drank tea instead).
I gradually reintroduced the coffee, and now I drink three cups every morning with an occasional afternoon, or evening cup, thrown in to boot.

I followed Tobagotwo's example; he swears, or did, that he drinks coffee all day long at work. I figured if it were good enough for him, it was good enough for me!:D :p

October 13th, 2006, 05:28 PM
Thanks for starting this thread Stretch. I love coffee and to date do not have any problems with afib etc. But I have thought that the recommendation post-op prob would be to not drink it. I think I will wean myself pre-op to prevent the headache and depression that can accompany sudden withdrawal. On top of everything else I don't think I would want that post-op! Since you're already off you're golden.

I agree with those who think de-caf is just as good. And chai tea's not bad either!

Thanks again, Barbara

October 13th, 2006, 05:45 PM
I'm a big coffee drinker, I've been drinking it from the age of 8. Before my ross I would have about 10 cups a day. I found after my surgery, caffeine really made me feel bad. My heart would race and I would break out in a sweat. I now only drink 1 cup of "real" coffee a day and drink de-caff the rest of the time. Hope this helps!

October 13th, 2006, 06:18 PM
Dick had one morning of afib in the hospital and was sent home with instructions for no caffeine, so he has been on decaf since surgery.

October 13th, 2006, 06:37 PM
My plan is to stay caffeine free at least until well after surgery, and I imagine I'll just make de-caf the norm. During the last couple of weeks I've also discovered that there's no real taste difference, unless you count the more narrow selection of "flavors" most shops have for decaf...

October 13th, 2006, 07:17 PM
I think your staying off the caffeine is a GREAT idea. It certainly cannot hurt you!! Do take his advice. You may never feel the need for the jolt again.

I've been grinding my own coffee beans since college (we're pretty serious about coffee here in the northwest!) but noticed about 5 years ago that caffeine was giving me the shakes. I switched quite easily to decaf. When the stenosis got bad, any caffeine would give me strong PVC's (or even hot sauces like tabasco) and I even had to give up chocolate :eek: !

I'm happy to report that for me, since about 4 months post op, I'm suddenly okay with a "real" starbucks. I don't do it very often, but when I need a little kick (no time to nap, say, but could probably use one) I'm okay. Recently I went into a furniture store and the owner offered me a cup of Half-caff. Apparently mixing the two now has a name!! I've been doing that for years, just a dollop of my husband's "real" coffee in my large mug of decaf. Sometimes you just need to feel that eye-opening feeling!

Honestly. After awhile....you just don't miss it that much.


October 14th, 2006, 06:52 AM
hi stretch,
i think it's a great idea too, the decaf. when joey and i travel, he'll often have a cup of half and half (half caffeinated and half decaf. combined), but no more than one cup of regular coffee. i do the same, because it gives me the shakes.

i brew a strong pot of decaf coffee each morning and it tastes just like regular coffee. have never had complaints about it (even from those who normally drink caffeinated_ if i don't tell them!).

give it a try, see how you do, go from there...
please let me know of your rescheduled date so i can come see you and noni!
stay well,

October 14th, 2006, 07:12 AM
I was told to get off caffiene before my AVR do to afid. I went to decaf coffee, tea and sodas. I really do feel better and it did not take too long to get used to the different taste.

The afib is gone (ablation) so I dont worry about caffiene if that's all that there is. Someone said they read that with what they know now that the Feds would have made caffiene a controled substance. Just think of all the money we could make pushing coffee:D :p :D


Jay F
October 14th, 2006, 08:46 AM
Hi guys, I am 16 days post OP and do miss the caf. Been drinking Decaf and it tastes just as good but there is something bout the little jolt. I have inadvertently had some Regular Coca Cola with no noticable effects but have stayed away from the regular coffee for now. I was drinking 3 regular cups per day. I do hope I will be able to tolorate it again. I will probably try a cup of caffienated after several more weeks post OP......J :cool:

October 14th, 2006, 05:25 PM
coffee was on my tray first morning after surgery..and every morning after!
I don't drink it any more.. gave it up with last pregnancy..
However..I am a HUGE tea drinker..
No one limited anything for me:o

Lisa in Katy
October 15th, 2006, 06:42 PM
I think that coffee is nasty stuff; however, I do love Diet Coke, which has must less caffeine than coffee. I was never told to stay away from caffeine and in fact, diet cola was a drink option on the lunch and dinner menu in the hospital. They used Shasta brand though, which I don't like, so my husband brought me one the second day in ICU and then left me some spending money :p so I could walk to the Coke machine when I felt the urge.

October 15th, 2006, 07:49 PM
No-one's mentioned anything to me but i have taken it upon myself to give up all of my vices over the past 2-3 weeks and the comming month before my surgery, that way if i have a 'slip' it's not that critical.

I've had about 4 cups of real coffee in the past 2-3 weeks and i'm not missing it a bit, drinking loads of water at work.

I've also given up the drink bar the odd bottle of beer or glass of wine (little and often approach)

I've also given up soda such as coke, pepsi etc which has the side effect of helping me give up my fav drink of vodka and coke....not sure why i've given up the soda's other than i've read it somewhere over the past month or so and have take in onboard.

The hardest vice to give up has been crisps (chips), those little cruncy things keep shouting out my name but i've only had approx 1 large bag since the news was broken.

All in all i'm basically slowly training my body into a healthy lifestyle pre-op knowing i'll have the odd slipup so that i have less to deal with post op.

To be honest...i'd drink water and eat oatmeal for the rest of my natural if it meant i was around for the kids much much longer.....i find myself assessing lifes little habits with different critera these days.

October 16th, 2006, 07:41 AM
I drink tea, strong tea. No one said I ought not and when I was in hospital with heart block a fortnight after my OHS, I also had A Fib and they almost drowned me in strong tea, they gave me so much to drink and that was in a cardiac care unit.

October 16th, 2006, 09:05 AM
I drink coffee (prefer french roast) -- "leaded" or "unleaded" -- iced, hot, lattes + hot tea, iced tea. Also love coffee ice cream & candies.
I drank coffee & tea (iced) post-op in the hospital. Was not told not to and I don't seem to have any problems with it.

My dad has a right bundle branch block & can't tolerate coffee any longer. Sticks to decaf. Has cut back on coffee ice cream, too.

October 16th, 2006, 09:16 AM
I wasn't given any diet or beverage restrictions (except alcohol when on pain meds). I've been drinking coffee as far back as I can remember and altho I've cut down to 2 or 3 cups in the morning since I've been retired, I've had no problems since I've been home. Like sodas, going from regular to diet takes time to adjust, I'm sure I could go from regular to decaf, but no reason to. I never drink coffee after late in the morning or I don't sleep well at night.
I'll continue my coffee because as a runner, there is supposed to be some benefits from the caffine on longer runs.

October 16th, 2006, 07:16 PM
Hello. I thougth I'd voice my opionion on this topic:p First of all, I am a big fan of caffeine (I have a two year old son) but I was told to stay away from it too. The reason behind it was, I was given medication to help lower my heart rate, and since caffeine increases heart rate, it sort of defeates the purpose of the medication. The weird thing was, after my surgery I didn't even want to look at soda. I thought that would be great, help me loose some weight, but of course that didn't last long:D I do try and watch how much caffeine I consume, but I wasn't told it was a major issue anymore (it's been over a year since my surgery). I would say if you can help it, try and stay away from it, but a little won't hurt. Just my opinion;)

October 18th, 2006, 12:05 PM
I drank one tall cup of coffee every morning, more on the weekend, pre-op.

I weaned myself off even that amount, because I figured I wouldn't get any coffee for at least a few days in the hospital.

Once I was out of surgery, I was afraid to drink coffee again, plus I wasn't allowed any cream in the hospital so I didn't really want any coffee. But It was on the menu, and was even given to me several times without my asking (though milk was not given automatically - yech!)

For the past 2 days, since I've come home, I've gone back to 1/2 cup in the morning and it doesn't seem to affect me.

But cutting coffee out completely even if you don't have to is probably a wise move if you can do it without losing one of your life's essential pleasures.

October 18th, 2006, 12:40 PM
I gave up coffee Post Op. I was never truly addicted to it but it gave me cravings to want to smoke again so I stay away from it. However, I started drinking hot tea. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that tea is great in preventing cancer and cardiac diseases. It contains polyphenols which is an antioxidant. I occasionally drink the herbal green teas as well even though I take Coumadin. It has not affected my INR one bit. Recent studies have shown that black teas (hot or cold) have about the same benefits as green tea. Drinking tea is a great alternative!

Caffine can "trigger" palps, arrythminas and afibs even in those though not diagnosed with heart diseases. Some folks have "caffine sensitive" hearts. My Card always says know your "trigger" points that can cause palps or arrythmias and cut them out of your lifestyle.

Hot Rod Harry
October 24th, 2006, 04:18 PM
I'm a truck driver, so coffee is my friend.. I'm 4 months post op, and the last 3 weeks I have been drinking 1 cup a day, a small cup. A few times I felt like it was too much. I think eventually, I'll end up quiting it, or save it for those times where I really need it.

I did manage to give up 90% of the soda I was drinking. It's Gaterade or Powerade for me, and water.

I'd say try a small amount & see how you feel.

Susan BAV
October 29th, 2006, 06:28 PM
My cardiologist does not like for me to drink coffee.

I stayed off of the good stuff (the real stuff) for about a year post-op because my husband became the coffee-Nazi and would only let me have de-caf (although I sneaked out for a Starbucks every chance I could). We finally had some guests visiting who (happily for me) HAD to have real coffee each morning and so we transitioned back. That said, however, I don't go hog wild with it. A couple of mugs in the morning and sometimes some coffee in the afternoon and I nearly never miss the opportunity to grab a nice latte:p!

October 29th, 2006, 06:37 PM

I agree with your plan to kick caffeine and stay off it until well after surgery. If you wind up reactive to it, the PACs and PVCs and possibly worse would not be a good thing to endure during recovery. It might kick off something that wouldn't have happened without the boost.

When you're ready, try it again - just a cup. You may be fine, or you may decide to stay off it, or go to tea, which generally has much less.

I drink three cups most workdays. One before I leave home, and two at work. However, I don't seem very reactive to caffeine, as I can drink coffe and fall asleep right afterwards.

Best wishes,

October 29th, 2006, 11:06 PM
Funny, but none of you said anything of headaches after quiting coffee.
I get a terrible headache if I don`t have my daily fix.
I hope the dope I get after surgery takes the pain away.
I`m not strong enough to quit now, some 24 days pre-op. :(

Susan BAV
October 30th, 2006, 07:39 AM
Regarding headaches -

I went off coffee cold turkey about 20 years ago and had a really bad headache in the brainstem area for two solid weeks. It was extremely bad but I stuck it out. (I eventually began drinking coffee again sometime later.)

So I had reservations about going off coffee after OHS but, I don't know why but, I didn't have the slightest trouble getting off of it. Maybe it was because of some of the meds I was on, maybe it was because my body had other pain issues and distractions, I don't know. But it wasn't an issue and wasn't difficult to go off of it post-op, except for, perhaps, psychologically.

BTW, I'm slurpping on a really fine cup of joe as I type this...:p