Your doctor took a vein or artery from another part of your body to create a detour, or bypass, around an artery that was blocked and could not bring enough blood to your heart.
Your surgery was done through an incision (cut) in your chest. If the surgeon went through your breastbone, the surgeon repaired it with wire and a metal plate, and your skin was closed with stitches. You also had an incision made in your leg or arm, where the vein was taken from to be used for the bypass.
After surgery, it takes 4 to 6 weeks to completely heal and start feeling better. It is normal to:
You should have someone to stay with you in your home for at least the first 1 - 2 weeks.
Learn how to check your pulse, and check it every day.
Do the breathing exercises you learned in the hospital for 4 - 6 weeks.
Shower every day, washing the incision gently with soap and water. Do NOT swim, soak in a hot tub, or take baths until your incision is completely healed. Follow a heart-healthy diet.
If you feel depressed, talk with your family and friends. Ask your doctor about getting help from a counselor.
Continue to take all your medications for your heart, diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other conditions you have.
Stay active during your recovery, but be sure to start slowly.
Do not drive for at least 4 - 6 weeks after your surgery. The twisting involved in turning the steering wheel may pull on your incision. Ask your doctor when you may return to work, and expect to be away from work for about 6 - 8 weeks.
Do not travel for at least 2 or 4 weeks. Ask your doctor when travel is okay. Ask your doctor before starting sexual activity again. Usually it is okay after 4 weeks.
You may be referred to a formal cardiac rehabilitation program, where you will receive information and counseling regarding activity, diet, and supervised exercise.
For the first 6 weeks after your surgery, you must be careful how you use your arms and upper body when you move.
Brushing your teeth is okay, but do not do other activities that keep your arms above your shoulders for any period of time. Keep your arms close to your sides when you are using them to get out of bed or a chair. You may bend forward to tie your shoes. Always stop if you feel pulling on your breastbone.
Your doctor or nurse will tell you how to take care of your chest wound. You will likely be asked to clean your surgical cut every day with soap and water, and gently dry it. Do not use any creams, lotions, powders, or oils unless your doctor or nurse tells you it is okay.
If you had a cut or incision on your leg:
Call your doctor if:
Off-pump coronary artery bypass - discharge; OPCAB - discharge; Beating heart surgery - discharge; Bypass surgery - heart - discharge; CABG - discharge; Coronary artery bypass graft - discharge; Coronary artery bypass surgery - discharge; Coronary bypass surgery - discharge
Vandvik PO, Lincoff AM, Gore JM, Gutterman DD, Sonnenberg FA, Alonso-Coello P, et al. Primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: Antithrombotic Therapy and Prevention of Thrombosis, 9th ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines. Chest. 2012 Feb;141(2 Suppl):e637S-68S.
Fraker TD Jr, Fihn SD, Gibbons RJ, Abrams J, Chatterjee K, Daley J, et al. 2007 chronic angina focused update of the ACC/AHA 2002 Guidelines for the management of paAtients with chronic stable angina: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines Writing Group to develop the focused update of the 2002 Guidelines for the management of patients with chronic stable angina. Circulation. 2007 Dec 4;116(23):2762-72. Epub 2007 Nov 12.
Hillis LD, Smith PK, Anderson JL, Bittl JA, Bridges CR, Byrne JG, et al. 2011 ACCF/AHA Guideline for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery. A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Developed in collaboration with the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 Dec 6;58(24):e123-210. Epub 2011 Nov 7.
Gopaldas RR, Chu D, Bakaeen FG. Coronary insufficiency. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 60.
Updated by: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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