Coronary Artery Bypass Graft - Recovery

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What was recovery like after your coronary artery bypass graft procedure?

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How do patients recover after CABG surgery?

Sutures are removed from the chest prior to discharge and from the leg (if the saphenous vein is used) after 7 to 10 days. Even though smaller leg veins will take over the role of the saphenous vein, a certain degree of swelling (edema) in the affected ankle is common. Patients are advised to wear elastic support stockings during the day for the first four to six weeks after surgery and to keep their leg elevated when sitting. This swelling usually resolves after about six to eight weeks. Healing of the breastbone takes about six weeks and is the primary limitation in recovering from CABG surgery. Patients are advised not to lift anything more than 10 pounds or perform heavy exertion during this healing period. They are also advised not to drive for the first four weeks to avoid any injury to the chest. Patients can return to normal sexual activity as long as they minimize positions that put significant weight on the chest or upper arms. Return to work usually occurs after the six week recovery, but may be much sooner for non-strenuous employment.

Exercise stress testing is routinely done four to six weeks after CABG surgery and signals the beginning of a cardiac rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation consists of a 12 week program of gradually increasing monitored exercise lasting one hour three times a week. Patients are also counseled about the importance of lifestyle changes to lower their chance of developing further CAD. These include stopping smoking, reducing weight and dietary fat, controlling blood pressure and diabetes, and lowering blood cholesterol levels.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Evernew, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 31

It's been seven weeks since a triple bypass. I was going in for hip replacement and failed the pre-operation test. I never had chest pains and the cardiologist said it looked like I had two heart attacks. I feel good, but as I said, I never had any pain. So, no, I do not feel better than before the surgery. They said my heart was strong. My exercise has been on a stationary bike, since walking is a problem. I have always been in good shape and fairly active. I did smoke a pipe for years no cigarettes). My father died of a heart valve infection at 78.

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Comment from: ewok, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 08

I had triple bypass surgery 7 weeks ago. I am slowly returning to normal. I am still in a lot of pain from the surgery and still having to take a pain pill every so often. The skin around the surgery is very sensitive even to clothing touching it. I still get tired and have problems with some movements. I go back for 1st post operation visit in 3 days. Hopefully, I will be cleared to drive. I have been walking every day and I have resumed some household chores. I knew it would take a while but it seems like recovery is very slow. I sneezed for the 1st time yesterday and thought I was going to pass out from the pain around the surgery site! Some motions just hurt! I am grateful to be able to be in recovery and the angina has seemed to go away.

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