|Follow Your Doctor's Orders!
If you have any questions
about your care or condition, or about any post-surgical activity, contact
your surgeon or cardiologist.
These instructions apply to
coronary artery bypass surgery. For those with other types of heart, chest
or vascular surgery, follow instructions provided to you by your surgeon
Should you have questions
about any aspect of your care, contact our office.
|Post-Surgical Instruction for
Coronary Heart Bypass Patients
Important Notice: The
instructions provided below apply to most patients following coronary bypass
surgery. Patient conditions and capabilities can vary, however, and these
instructions are not intended to replace specific instructions from your
Once You Are Home Following a Coronary Artery Bypass:
- Walk! Try to increase your
activity level a little bit each day. Walking will help you become
stronger, will help reduce soreness and swelling, and will improve your
appetite and attitude.
- Expect some soreness. You
will probably have pains, numbness and/or kinks in your chest for weeks following
surgery. These will diminish with time and general activity.
- Do not lift anything heavy
(more than 5 pounds). Your breast bone must have time to heal, which
generally takes 6-8 weeks for most individuals.
- Eat to regain your
strength. Appetite loss is common following major surgery. For the first
4-to-6 weeks following surgery, eat what you like and dont worry
excessively about your diet. It is important, however, that you adopt
healthy, life-long eating habits. Your cardiologist will probably
discuss a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet with you.
- Do not drive for at least
four weeks. You may ride in a car, however. Keep your car trips within
50 miles until released by your doctor.
- Swelling in your legs and
ankles is common after surgery, especially if you had vein grafts taken
from your leg(s). If you experience swelling, wear the support stockings
you wore while in the hospital. Put the stockings on before you get out
of bed in the morning or after you have elevated your legs for at least
30-45 minutes in the mornings. Walking also helps with leg swelling and
- If you need additional
medication for pain or any discomfort, please call your surgeon. Try to
call prior to a weekend.
- You may take a shower, but
do not use bathtubs or swimming pools as long as scabs are present.
- Clean your incisions with
hydrogen peroxide and/or antibacterial soap. Do not apply ointments,
creams or lotions. You may expect some drainage from your chest tube
sites, but if you experience drainage from the long, vertical incision
in your chest, call your surgeon's office.
- To reduce the potential
for blood clots and to promote good circulation, take one coated
aspirin, such as Ecotrin, everyday unless you have an allergy to
aspirin. If you are allergic to aspirin, talk to your doctor.
- You may experience
constipation due to changes in your eating habits and the effects of
pain medication. If this becomes a persistent problem, contact your
- Recognize that getting
back to your old self takes a little time. You may experience periods of
depression or anxiety. Be a friend to yourself and be patient.
Understand that physical and emotional healing take time.
A post-surgical visit with
your surgeon will be scheduled two-to-four weeks following surgery. This
is a good opportunity for you to discuss your questions and concerns. To
help you remember important questions, we encourage you to write down your
questions prior to your appointment.
As your recovery
progresses, you are bound to have many more questions about work, travel,
sex, exercise, medications, diet and more. Your cardiologist and/or
primary care physician will guide your long-term care and recovery.
Following their care and instruction is your best path to long-term health
and recovery from heart disease.