What Happens After Heart Bypass Surgery
Youâll wake up in an intensive care unit . The breathing tube will still be in your mouth. You wonât be able to talk, and you’ll feel uncomfortable. Nurses will be there to help you. Theyâll remove the tube after a few hours, when you can breathe on your own.
During the procedure, the medical team will probably have put a thin tube called a catheter into your bladder to collect urine. When youâre able to get up and use the bathroom on your own, theyâll remove it.
They also attached an IV line before the surgery to give you fluids and medications. Youâll get it removed once youâre able to eat and drink on your own and no longer need IV medications.
Fluids will build up around your heart after the procedure, so your doctor will put tubes into your chest. Theyâll be there for 1 to 3 days after surgery to allow the fluid to drain.
You may feel soreness in your chest. Youâll have the most discomfort in the first 2 to 3 days after the procedure. You will probably get pain medicines for that.
You should be able to start walking 1 to 2 days after surgery. Youâll stay in the ICU for a few days before you’re moved to a hospital room. Youâll stay there for 3 to 5 days before you go home.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
You should see your healthcare provider as recommended after your procedure. Theyll schedule follow-up visits where they can check your heart function, remove any remaining stitches or staples, and make sure your wounds are healing well.
During your recovery, you should also follow your providers guidance regarding the following:
When should I go to the emergency room?
You should go to the hospital right away if you have any of the following:
- Having a fever or chills.
- Fast heart rate or breathing.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Coronary artery bypass grafting is a surgery that can make a big difference in how you feel and your overall length and quality of life. Its also a major procedure, and its normal to worry or feel anxious about having this surgery. Talking to your healthcare provider is important because they can provide you with information and resources that can help you better understand whats happening. They can also guide you on what you can do to help yourself avoid complications and have the best possible outcome.
Why Might I Need Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
Your doctor uses coronary artery bypass graft surgery to treat a blockage or narrowing of one or more of the coronary arteries to restore the blood supply to your heart muscle.
Symptoms of coronary artery disease may include:
Swelling in the hands and feet
Unfortunately, you may not have any symptoms in early coronary artery disease, yet the disease will continue to progress until theres enough artery blockage to cause symptoms and problems. If the blood supply to your heart muscle continues to decrease as a result of increasing blockage of a coronary artery, you may have a heart attack. If the blood flow cant be restored to the particular area of the heart muscle affected, the tissue dies.
There may be other reasons for your doctor to recommend CABG surgery.
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When Stents Are Best
When the LAD isn’t involved, stents are usually the first choice.
“If you’re talking about blockages in one or even two vessels, the talk with the patient is not so much about bypass versus stenting as about stenting versus medical therapy,” Cutlip says. Medical therapy here means medication and follow-up visits with your cardiologist, but no invasive interventions such as bypass or angioplasty.
There’s another time stents are the best choice: when bypass no longer is an option.
While LAD repair with a mammary artery usually lasts for the rest of a person’s life, CABG grafts in the other two arteries do not. These procedures typically use veins rather than arteries, and in half of people, these repurposed veins start to fail after eight to 10 years.
“Once that happens and you need more work, a second bypass can be done, but generally we prefer to use stents,” says Dr. Cutlip.
CABG best for patients with diabetes, other factors
For people with diabetes, there are fewer questions regarding the choice between bypass surgery and stents. Bypass surgery is generally superior to angioplasty.
When more than one heart artery is blocked, CABG may also offer better survival rates for people with heart failure.
Heart Procedures And Surgeries
If you’ve had a heart attack, you may have already had certain procedures to help you survive your heart attack and diagnose your condition. For example, many heart attack patients have undergone thrombolysis, a procedure that involves injecting a clot-dissolving agent to restore blood flow in a coronary artery. This procedure is administered within a few hours of a heart attack. If this treatment isn’t done immediately after a heart attack, many patients will need to undergo coronary angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft surgery later to improve blood supply to the heart muscle.
See diagnostic tests and procedures to better understand the tests you may have to undergo to find out if you had a heart attack, how much damage was done and what degree of coronary artery disease you have.
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Why It’s Carried Out
Like all organs in the body, the heart needs a constant supply of blood.
This is supplied by 2 large blood vessels called the left and right coronary arteries.
Over time, these arteries can become narrowed and hardened by the build-up of fatty deposits called plaques.
This process is known as atherosclerosis.
People with atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries are said to have coronary heart disease.
Your chances of developing coronary heart disease increase with age.
You’re also much more likely to be affected if:
- you’re overweight or obese
- you have a high-fat diet
Coronary heart disease can cause angina, which is chest pain that happens when the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart becomes restricted.
While angina can often be treated with medicine, severe angina may require a coronary artery bypass graft to improve the blood supply to the heart.
Another risk associated with coronary heart disease is the possibility of one of the plaques in the coronary artery rupturing , creating a blood clot.
If the blood clot blocks the blood supply to the heart, it can trigger a heart attack.
A coronary artery bypass graft may be recommended to reduce your chances of having a heart attack.
Endoscopic Saphenous Vein Harvesting
Endoscopic saphenous vein harvesting is a less invasive method of removing the veins from your legs.
Rather than making a large cut in your leg, the surgeon makes a number of small ones near your knee. This is known as keyhole surgery.
A special device called an endoscope will be inserted into the cut.
An endoscope is a thin, long flexible tube with a light source and video camera at one end, so that images of the inside of your body can be relayed to an external television monitor.
The endoscope allows the surgeon to locate your saphenous vein. Surgical instruments can also be passed along the endoscope to remove a section of the vein. Nearby tissue is then sterilised with antibiotic fluid and the cut is healed.
The main advantages of this technique are that theres likely to be a:
- shorter hospital stay
- lower risk of leg wound infections
- quicker recovery from CABG
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Taking Care Of Yourself At Home
Be guided by your doctor, but general suggestions include:
- Take all prescribed medications strictly as directed by your doctor.
- Activities such as sneezing and coughing could cause some discomfort around your wound site. Don’t be alarmed, as this is normal.
- Watch for any possible complications. Some of the symptoms of infection may include redness, drainage of pus, heat, or increasing pain at your wound site. Other symptoms that may indicate problems include difficulty breathing, or a swollen and tender calf muscle.
- You will need to wear an elastic support stocking on the leg that the vein was removed from. Raise your leg regularly to reduce swelling.
- Your breastbone needs at least three months to properly heal. Strictly avoid lifting, pulling or pushing heavy objects for at least six to eight weeks after the operation.
- Follow your doctor’s recommendations on diet and exercise.
- Eat a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and cold-water fish .
- In particular, avoid saturated fats found in animal products and hidden fats in pastries, biscuits, fried foods, snack foods, chocolate and cocoa.
What Causes Clogged Arteries
Clogged arteries are caused by a buildup of plaque in your arteries. Plaque is usually made up of a few substances, including minerals like calcium, or fats and cholesterol. High cholesterol levels can lead to this buildup of plaques.
In some cases, high cholesterol is genetic, but it is mostly linked to diet and lifestyle choices.
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What Happens After Open
When you wake up after surgery, you will have two or three tubes in your chest. These are to help drain fluid from the area around your heart. You may have intravenous lines in your arm to supply you with fluids, as well as a catheter in your bladder to remove urine.
You will also be attached to machines that monitor your heart. Nurses will be nearby to help you if something should arise.
You will usually spend your first night in the intensive care unit . You will then be moved to a regular care room for the next three to seven days.
Taking care of yourself at home immediately after the surgery is an essential part of your recovery.
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Specialized Treatment For Cto
While traditional treatment for CTO has primarily been coronary artery bypass grafting performed during open-heart surgery, newer techniques and advanced technologies have enabled Frankel CVC doctors to offer minimally invasive alternatives.
One such method a CTO percutaneous coronary intervention was used to successfully restore Niemczaks blood flow.
The procedure is performed by experienced interventional cardiologists with specialized training in advanced methods to treat CTO without open-heart surgery.
During PCI, advanced wires and specialty catheters are used to tunnel through the complete blockage. The procedure, Menees says, often requires creative paths to get through the blockage.
These routes, he says, include using the wall of the artery to go around the blockage or using the newly created collateral vessels to approach the blockage from the backside.
Then, using a technique called angioplasty, a small balloon is passed into the blockage and inflated to effectively push the blockage to the side. This approach, followed by stenting, creates a wider opening in the arteries to restore normal blood flow.
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Stents Or Surgery For Clogged Neck Arteries
Two common approaches to treating narrowed neck arteriessurgery and angioplasty plus stent placementprevented disabling strokes equally well, according to results of an international clinical trial published in The Lancet. The 1,700 participants at 50 different medical centers worldwide had a condition called carotid stenosis, in which one or both of the main arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain become clogged with fatty deposits.
Clotting or complete blockage can trigger a stroke. In fact, about 15% of all strokes are associated with carotid clogging. For this reason, people already experiencing symptoms from a blockage may be offered either surgery to clear the blockage or a procedure to install a stenta small metal cage-like tube that holds the blocked area open.
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What Is Heart Bypass Surgery
A heart bypass procedure involves attaching a blood vessel taken from elsewhere in the body to the diseased coronary artery. This results in a redirection of the blood flow around the blockage. When a person has a double bypass surgery, it means that two or three arterial blockages are rerouted.
Heart bypass surgery is done as an inpatient procedure. Its often a planned procedure, but in some instances, an emergency heart bypass procedure is performed after a person has a heart attack.
Heart bypass surgery may sometimes be performed on infants and children, but not for the same reason adults have the procedure done. Rather, infants and children would be more likely to need heart bypass surgery because of congenital heart disease.
The steps involved in a traditional open method of heart bypass surgery include:
Verywell / Tim Liedtke
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What Happens During Coronary Artery Bypass
Coronary artery bypass graft surgery requires a stay in a hospital. Procedure may vary depending on your condition and your doctor’s practices.
Generally, CABG follows this process:
You will be asked to remove any jewelry or other objects that may interfere with the procedure.
You will change into a hospital gown and empty your bladder.
You will lie on your back on an operating table.
The anesthesiologist will continuously monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood oxygen level during the surgery. Once you are sedated , a breathing tube will be put into your throat and you will be connected to a ventilator, which will breathe for you during the surgery.
A healthcare professional will insert an intravenous line in your arm or hand. Other catheters will be put in your neck and wrist to monitor your heart and blood pressure, as well as to take blood samples.
A catheter will be put into your bladder to drain urine.
The skin over the surgical site will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
Once all the tubes and monitors are in place, your doctor will make incisions in one or both of your legs or one of your wrists to access the blood vessel to be used for the grafts. He or she will remove the vessel and close those incision.
The doctor will make an incision below the Adam’s apple to just above the navel.
The doctor will cut the sternum in half lengthwise. He or she will separate the halves of the breastbone and spread them apart to expose your heart.
The Heart Of The Matter
So, should this practice become standard care?
It helps to know a little bit about how arteries get clogged and heart attacks happen in the first place.
Plaque buildup in the arteries known as atherosclerosis is one of the leading causes of heart attacks, though far from the only one.
And to some degree, even if you employ clean living and a heart-healthy diet, plaque buildup is inevitable.
Our body naturally heals this internal injury, and we grow plaque in our arteries. What we commonly think of as risk factors for heart disease are truly just the things that accelerate the natural aging of our arteries, he said.
Those risk factors include diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
But, ultimately, our genetics and time will produce some degree of plaque in everyone, Yamamoto said.
As plaque grows in the arteries over time, some crack or rupture, forming a clot at the site of the injury even if that plaque isnt big enough to block blood flow in the artery.
And what is a blood clot forming on a cracked coronary artery plaque?
A heart attack, Yamamoto said.
Given the studys findings, fixing all clogged arteries at once sounds like a logical path forward.
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Treatment Options For Lmca Disease
Currently, there are three options for treating LMCA disease:
- Coronary artery bypass grafting, also known as bypass surgery or CABG, in which a blood vessel taken from a persons leg, arm, or chest is moved and used to reroute blood around a clogged coronary artery.
- Percutaneous coronary intervention, also known as angioplasty and stenting. In this procedure, a catheter with a deflated balloon and stent at the tip is threaded into the heart through a blood vessel in the leg or wrist. The balloon inflates along with the stent, clearing the blockage. The stent is left in place to prop open the blood vessel.
- Medical therapy.
Medical therapy is used in combination with both bypass surgery and stenting to help improve long-term outcomes. However, medical therapy alone has been shown to have worse outcomes in managing LMCA disease.
When comparing bypass surgery and stenting, there are some pros and cons to each. Stenting is much less invasive than bypass surgery, and has a significantly quicker recovery time. However, studies have shown that patients who have very complex LMCA disease have better results with bypass surgery in the long term. But when there is less anatomic complexity, there is some uncertainty regarding which treatment is better.