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Precautions to take after a Successful Bypass Surgery

What is heart bypass surgery?

Heart bypass surgery or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)  surgery is an advanced surgical process. It is a classical open-heart surgery wherein the surgeon makes a large incision in the middle of the chest of the patient to unlock the clogged arteries.

Why is it performed?

At times, your coronary arteries might get narrowed, blocked or damaged, resulting in the chest pain (angina) or more severely in a heart attack. The procedure includes the use of tissues from other organs to increase the blood flow and oxygen supply in the heart. Doctors recommend the CABG to lower the possibility of a heart attack.

The risk involved in heart bypass surgery

Surgical methodology for bypass surgery is extremely troublesome and is prone to a number of likely complications. Surgery is prone to risk and complete danger cannot be ruled out. These might involve-

  • Bleeding-

There might be chances of bleeding from the site attached to graft, at the same time you will require a blood transfusion. At times, the doctor will have to re-operate your graft in a severe situation.

  • Blood Clots-

It is one of the rarest complications caused due to inactivity in the muscle movement, which is needed to continuously pump the blood to your heart. This could result in stroke, lung problem or heart attack.

  • Irregular Heartbeat- 

Atrial Fibrillation is a condition wherein the upper chamber of your heart might beat with a frequently abnormal quick pulse. Fortunately, it can be treated with a medication process, if found early.

  • Kidney Problems-

Coronary Bypass surgery might develop renal failure after the surgery, although it is most often a temporary effect. In special cases, the doctor can insist you for transitory dialysis until your kidney’s working reverts back to normal.

  • Memory loss or brain-related problems –

Exceptionally, you might come across brain-related issues following the surgery. You could experience a lack of focus while reading. It’s usually temporary but can transform in permanent trouble, if note taken care of immediately.

Precautions to take after a successful Bypass surgery

You’ve probably heard conflicting reports following the Heart Bypass Surgery. So, if you’re interested in precautionary measures, take comfort in the fact that simple lifestyle changes can make a difference.

  1. Complete Care of Surgical Wound-

Do’s- Your incision can be the place of germ infection. To keep it germ- free, clean it with antiseptic and keep it dry. Take a warm shower daily and use antimicrobial soap. Furthermore, insist on the usage of a cleansed washcloth. 

Don’t – Avoid wearing tight clothes which might rub against the wound. Do not apply creams, powders or any kind of ointments on the incision unless your doctor has told you to do so. Neither take a tub bath not do swimming for a minimum of four weeks, control any kind of movements that can put pressure on your chest bone.

  1. Mental–well being

According to a survey, up to 60% of patients experience depressive symptoms and 23% suffer from major depression.

Do’s- Your family can play a key role in emotional well-being. You can stay positive with the help of Family Support. Remain motivated by indulging in some happening activities. The optimistic approach can help you find sunshine in the rain.

Don’t- Talk less about the surgery in your normal conversation. Reduce the negative element in your surroundings. Be careful, don’t let Blood Pressure increase, as it might end up affecting your life.

  1. Healthy Lifestyle

Change in lifestyle would help you heal faster.

Do’s- Proper Sleep and rest results in quick recovery. Surgery might disturb your sleeping pattern. 8-10 hours of sleep is advisable for a healthy lifestyle. Listen and Watch soothing music and videos that might re-install your sleeping routine.

Don’t- Pain and irritation don’t let you sleep comfortably. Try not to sleep late at night. Most importantly, you need to quit smoking and drink less alcohol. Be aware of your drinking limit, exceeding the prescribed limit would raise your blood pressure.

  1. Proper Diet 

Changes in diet can avoid further health problems.

Do’s- Balanced diet is crucial for fast recovery. Stick by protein and fibre enriched diet routine along with omega 3 and omega 9. Fruits and vegetables which are the storehouse of vitamins and minerals, along with starchy food like whole grain rice and bread would be instrumental in bringing your diet back on the track.

Don’t- Avoid consuming a high amount of saturated fats which raise cholesterol in your blood. Try to restrain from caffeine products (tea, coffee, chocolate) meat products, cakes, cream or butter products.

  1. Exercise Routine

Stay Fit, Stay Healthy!

Do’s – Regular Exercise reduces the likelihood of developing further heart problems. Gradually, as you recover from the surgical effects, indulge yourself in moderate-intensity sports and aerobic activities like walking, cycling, tennis, skipping etc to lose weight.

Don’t- Try to avoid large intensity activities which might cause you stress. In your initial stage of recovery, ensure low strenuous activities as it would increase your heart rate. Don’t lift weight more than 5 kg and avoid standing more than 15 minutes.

Recovery Phase

Standardly, you will have to stay in the hospital for approximately 7 days after CABG. Clinical staff intently monitor your medical condition and analyse the recovery. The doctors will only discharge after they are convinced that you are ready to go home and manage on your own.

How long does it take from recovery?

Initial Stage of the recovery lasts around 5-8 weeks. At the time you’re discharged from the hospital, the doctor gives you a set of instructions. This set includes various do’s and don’ts which you need to follow for fast healing.

Indeed, recovery from CABG takes times. Every individual recover at different healing speed. But even without complications, it may extend from 5-12 weeks.

Side Effects

Undoubtedly, every medical procedure has a bunch of side effects. After-effects of CABG can include-

  • Constipation
  • Itching or discomfort around the incision
  • Tiredness or lack of sleep
  • Mood swings or depression
  • Chest Pain
  • Muscle pain in shoulder or back pain


  • Risk of stroke reduces
  • Lesser risk of heart injury
  • Energy to perform physical activities
  • Relief from Symptoms
  • Less need for transfusion


  • Change in heartbeat
  • Allergic Effect of the Anaesthesia
  • Chest Pain
  • Can cause lung infection
  • Bleeding from the incision after Surgery

Alternatives to Bypass Surgery

There are two more methods to remove the blockage in the blood vessel. This improves your blood flow by widening the obstructed or narrowed path.


Angioplasty is a medical procedure, wherein the doctor inflates a small balloon and in some cases a metal lattice stent to open your blocked blood vessel. This improves your blood flow by widening the obstructed or narrowed path.

Pros –

  • Prevents gangrene by transporting blood to the legs 
  • Diminishes the risk of a possible stroke 
  • Improves the functioning of the kidney
  • Provides relief from chest pain
  • Reduces heart muscle damage during a heart attack

Cons –

  • The stent rod can cause an allergic effect
  • Chances of artery getting crumbled 
  • Coronary bypass surgery might become a necessity if angioplasty is inefficient
  • Sometimes, repeat procedures become essential if the scar tissue grows within the stent
  • Blood clots come into sight in stents

Cardiac Stent

A stent is a tiny tube which is inserted in your artery to open up the obstructed passageway so as to keep it in working condition. This rod or tube is either made of metal or plastic. Sometimes, doctors also use specially fabricated tube.


  • Lower Complications
  • Nil anaesthesia risk 
  • Worldwide recognised solution to the heart problem. 
  • Less pain 
  • Probability of survival is more than 30%


  • Chances of infection
  • Arrhythmias after surgery
  • Damaging the blood vessel 
  • Contrast Dye damages Kidney
  • Bleeding at the incision

The Bottom Line

Believe it or not, one of the best things is to resist yourself from elements that can leave a lifetime scar not only on your body but also on your mind. The misery of precautions is often less than the dangers to be avoided. It is always better to abandon activities for a few weeks to enjoy the life ahead in the company of your loved ones.


First and Foremost,, do not panic or stress out. Talk to your doctor about your health and medications and what all do you expect after surgery.
Your doctor shall give you a set of instructions on how to prepare. Most importantly, he’ll ask you to quit smoking and drinking. He will also stop blood-thinning medications as they could cause further complications.
Under this set of instructions, you might be asked to show up to the dentist for the clearance of dental bacteria. The day before the surgery, you need to bathe with a special soap to kill all the bacteria on your body.
Furthermore, you will be instructed not to drink and eat, after the midnight before the surgery.
The doctor will ask you to undergo various tests like a blood test, angiogram, ECG or chest X-ray to infer your precise health status.How do I prepare for heart bypass?

What are the various types of bypass surgeries?

When your doctor examines your heart’s condition, he can recommend a specific type of bypass surgery, depending on the number of arteries blocked and the gravity of the problem. The typical recommendations are:
Single Bypass – When only one artery is blocked
Double Bypass- When two arteries are blocked
Triple Bypass- When three arteries are blocked
Quadruple Bypass- When four arteries are blocked.

More the number of arteries blocked, higher will be the likelihood of risk and higher could be the complications.

What all medications shall I take after heart bypass Surgery?

After you get discharged from the hospital, the doctor will give you certain medical prescriptions.
Antiplatelet drugs and aspirin- preventing blood clots.
Tylenol or Advil- pain killer
Beta-Blockers- Lowering the blood pressure
Statins or lipid-lowering medicines- Lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol
Nitrates- Opening blood Flows

These prescriptions are meant for fast healing of your wound both internally and externally. This substantially reduces the risk of recurrence of a heart attack in future.

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