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Chest Muscle Pain After Open Heart Surgery

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Chest Pain After Open Heart By Pass Surgery

How to Open the Chest During Heart Surgery

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What Methods Are Included In The Recovery Process After Six Weeks

  • After the 6 weeks from the date of the surgery, the incision in the chest is essentially healed to about 80 percent. Slowly the patient can start normal activities including driving. The patient may get back to work, but physical exertion should be avoided.
  • The doctor may ask the patient to start with the cardiac rehabilitation process. This helps in increasing the endurance of the heart after the surgery.
  • In the process of cardiac rehabilitation, the expert teaches the patient some exercises that helps in making the working of the heart better. The progress of the patient is monitored.
  • The cardiac rehabilitation also helps the patient by letting him know proper dietary habits and lifestyle changes suitable for him for a speedy recovery. Such habits should not be compromised.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation is a necessary program for proper healing after an open heart surgery. It builds up the endurance so that the patient can be healthy and resume a normal life to include strenuous activities.

You May Experience Memory Loss And/or Brain Fog

There are a couple of things that can cause memory loss and brain fog after open-heart surgery. If you were put on bypass, it can cause these issues. It is also called pump head. Post-operative cognitive dysfunction can also cause memory loss. Both of these are usually short-term but can have the possibility of long-term effects. For the first six months, I really struggled with memory loss and brain fog. As time went on, it started to get better and I started to regain my memory and wasnt so foggy-headed.

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Youll Play A Key Role In Managing Your Pain

Post-surgical pain is unavoidable but can be managed in a variety of ways. Because of recent national legislation changes, physicians can prescribe no more than a seven-day supply of opioids to patients at the time of their hospital discharge.

Weaning yourself off opioids as soon as possible is important. You may need less than a seven-day supply, depending on your condition. Some patients do not require any opioids for pain management.

Other options for pain management include:

  • Oral and topical analgesics such as acetaminophen and Salonpas patches

  • Applying a warm cloth to the area, using caution near the incision because nerve sensitivity may be decreased, causing the skin to burn

  • Relaxation techniques such as meditation and guided imagery

If you are on long-term opioids, you should meet with your prescribing physician to begin to wean down to the lowest dose possible before surgery.

Sternum Pain Clicking Or Popping In Your Chest Bone After Heart Surgery

Building the chest and back muscles after open heart surgery

Earlier we shared some tips on How to Live a Heart Healthy Lifestyle and reduce your risks of developing heart disease. Unfortunately, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. The high prevalence of heart disease in the US has made heart surgery one of the most common procedures performed in the US.

We interviewed Dr. Michael Rose to learn more about the specialized procedure he offers to patients suffering from sternal nonunion and instability. This complication occurs in about two to three percent of patients who undergo heart surgery and often goes undiagnosed, leaving many patients feeling hopeless.

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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:

  • Chest pain

  • Swelling in the hands and feet

  • Indigestion

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.

From Hospital Discharge To Six Weeks

As you begin getting back into your routine, remember to start with small tasks and take plenty of breaks. Dont overdo it.

After you leave the hospital, unless your surgeon says otherwise, you may return to activities such as:

  • Light cleaning.
  • Climbing stairs.

Some things are still off limits, though.Dont lift, pull or push anything that weighs more than 10 pounds. Its too soon to drive, too, but its OK to ride in a car.

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Chronic Post Sternotomy Pain: The Role Of Sternal Wire Removala Review

Elsayed Elmistekawy1, Ahmed Attia2

University of Ottawa Heart Institute , 2Cardiac Surgery Department, Saud Albabtain Cardiac Center, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Contributions: Conception and design: E Elmistekawy Administrative support: None Provision of study materials or patients: None Collection and assembly of data: All authors Data analysis and interpretation: None Manuscript writing: All authors Final approval of manuscript: All authors.

Correspondence to:

Abstract: Millions of patients worldwide undergo cardiac surgery via median sternotomy. Many of those patients suffer from chronic pain. Late pain after median sternotomy usually considered insignificant however recently chronic postoperative pain has been considered as an annoying problem and gaining more attention in order to understand the nature and management of it. In this review we will shed some lights on the incidence, etiology and management of chronic postoperative pain after cardiac surgery with a focus on the role of sternal wires removal as a management option for chronic post sternotomy pain.

Keywords: Sternotomy pain sternal wires

Received: 16 February 2020 Accepted: 06 March 2020 Published: 25 September 2020.

doi: 10.21037/amj.2020.03.06

When Does The Pain From Open Heart Surgery Go Away I Had My

Pain Control after Cardiac Surgery

When does the pain from open heart surgery go away? I had my surgery 5 weeks ago and didn’t expect to be in so much pain at this point.

First part of the answer …

You probably shouldn’t be in pain. Go see your surgeon!

Second part …

Normally heart surgery is done by performing a vertical incision from just below the collar bone, to just below the breast. Then they saw through the sternum . Doing it this way ensures that they don’t cut through any chest muscle, so this normally ensures that normally the only pain is from the incision.

There is often discomfort in the chest wall (i.e. through the ribs since they are pushed out of the way … and cartilage may be torn. This will cause discomfort, but normally it’s not continuous and will ease with movement.

If, on the other hand, they cut open the breast wall and used rib spreaders, then they cut through muscle and through cartilage. That is going to take a lot longer to heal!

I had the normal surgery and to be absolutely honest, I didn’t feel pain from the surgery even 2 days after. The incision was tender and uncomfortable, but definitely no pain. Granted, I was being given acetaminophen and morphine and later synthetic morphine, but really it didn’t hurt.

I had no incision “pain” although later part way down the incision a Keloid scar developed which itches!

95% of my discomfort was gone by 3 months and I began doing all manner of stuff.

Let us know … and how you make out with the follow up with your surgeon.

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Persistent Chest Pain After Cardiac Surgery


A 50 year-old male with history of recently diagnosed Graves’ disease, multiple sclerosis and benign prostatic hyperplasia presented to the hospital with chest pain concerning for unstable angina. Initial work-up for his cardiac chest pain, including a coronary angiogram and an echocardiogram showed non-obstructive coronary artery disease, and a severely stenotic bicuspid aortic valve. He subsequently underwent aortic root enlargement with a bovine pericardial patch and bioprosthetic aortic valve replacement without complication. Twenty-three days later, however, he presented to the emergency department endorsing right-sided pleuritic-type chest pain and low-grade fevers.

His medications on presentation included: methimazole, metoprolol tartrate, furosemide, aspirin, atorvastatin, warfarin, dimethyl fumarate and tamsulosin. His vitals signs on presentation were significant for tachycardia and low-grade fever with a low normal resting blood pressure of 98/63 mmHg.

His initial ECG showed sinus tachycardia with incomplete right bundle branch block and possible left atrial enlargement:


Initial laboratory work-up showed normal troponin , slightly elevated B-natriuretic peptide of 122pg/mL , normal white blood cell count 7.56k/uL , slight anemia with a hemoglobin of 10.1g/dL , normal platelet count of 337k/uL , low thyroid stimulating hormone < 0.008uIU/mL , and normal Free T4 1.06ng/dL .

Care Of Your Incisions

As you heal, your incision will look better and the soreness will go away. Changes in the weather, too much or too little activity and sleeping in one position too long may cause increased soreness. You may also feel numbness or itching or see redness or swelling, which will also stop with time. To care for your incisions, we suggest:

  • Wash gently with mild soap during your daily shower. Dry carefully with a towel. Pat it dry Do not rub the incision.
  • If you have small pieces of white tape over your incision, you must remove them after you have been home for seven days. If the strips come off on their own, you may leave them off.
  • If your incisions are puffy, have areas of redness, are oozing, or begin to open slightly, call your surgeon.
  • Women should wear a bra. A good support bra will reduce the tension placed on the incision. If the bra bothers you, you may put a small piece of gauze under the bra for added comfort.
  • For discomfort or soreness, you may use a heating pad. Apply it four or five times per day on the low setting for about 20 minutes each time. If needed, take pain medication prescribed by your doctor.

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Indications Of Sternal Wires Removal

  • To gain reentry either for redo surgery or in acute postoperative situation
  • Deep sternal wound infection and localized infection related to the sternal wires
  • In skinny patients and those who lose weight, sternal wires can be palpable or even seen or rarely can erode through the skin, in those patients wire removal may be indicated to alleviate their discomfort
  • Sternal wire removal is indicated as a measure to treat post sternotomy chronic pain.

Figure 1

Sternal wires can provoke damage of the anterior rami of the intercostal nerves during insertion at the sternal margin of the intercostal spaces Defalque and Bromley suggest that results in a neuralgia associated with scar-entrapped neuromas .

Wire factors for development of chronic pain includes eversion of the twisted portion of the sternal wires, friction between the wires and tissues and wire fracture with the resultant broken parts or dehiscence can be also a source of post sternotomy pain. Rarely allergic reaction to the wire can be the source of chronic pain. Once other causes of anterior chest pain such as sternal instability, mediastinitis, and cardiac causes such as ischemia are excluded, sternal wire removal is usually recommended.

In their study Zanavaros et al. studied 165 patients who received sternal wire removal, the majority of the patients had relief from pain, while only 9 patients reported no change or worsening of the pain after wire removal .

Emotional Side Effects Of Open

Favorite stretches for open heart surgery patients

by DrCiuffo | Feb 15, 2022 | Advanced Heart Surgery, Anatomy, Blog, Dr. Giovanni B Ciuffo, Heart Health |

Open heart surgery is one of the most invasive and stressful procedures doctors perform. Emotional side effects of open-heart surgery are to come after the procedure. In open-heart surgery, the heart is exposed for major repairs, a long incision in the chest is made, the breast bone is broken, and a heart-lung machine is used to pump blood in place of the heart. All of this places great stress on your body. Open heart surgery is notminimally invasive heart surgery.

Living with, and through, the physical effects of open-heart surgery can be daunting. Included are pain at the incision site, muscle pain, or throat pain. If you have chest tubes for drainage, those can also be uncomfortable. Despite the discomfort, post-surgical pain usually disappears after 6 8 weeks. However, other kinds of problems can linger? The emotional side effects of open-heart surgery might surprise you.

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Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery

  • To sew the grafts onto the very small coronary arteries, your doctor will need to stop your heart temporarily. Tubes will be put into the heart so that your blood can be pumped through your body by a heart-lung bypass machine.

  • Once the blood has been diverted into the bypass machine for pumping, your doctor will stop the heart by injecting it with a cold solution.

  • When the heart has been stopped, the doctor will do the bypass graft procedure by sewing one end of a section of vein over a tiny opening made in the aorta, and the other end over a tiny opening made in the coronary artery just below the blockage. If your doctor uses the internal mammary artery inside your chest as a bypass graft, the lower end of the artery will be cut from inside the chest and sewn over an opening made in the coronary artery below the blockage.

  • You may need more than one bypass graft done, depending on how many blockages you have and where they are located. After all the grafts have been completed, the doctor will closely check them as blood runs through them to make sure they are working.

  • Once the bypass grafts have been checked, the doctor will let the blood circulating through the bypass machine back into your heart and he or she will remove the tubes to the machine. Your heart may restart on its own, or a mild electric shock may be used to restart it.

  • Experiencing Chest Pain After Surgery

    Jennifer Schwartz, MD, is board-certified in general surgery with a subspecialty certification in bariatric surgery. She serves as an assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine, and practices in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

    Chest pain should always be taken seriously, and that is especially true if you have recently had surgery.

    However, there’s the chest pain that can mean you’re having a heart attack and then there’s pain that happens to be located in the chest. Knowing the difference is key to protecting your health and having a full recovery.

    The good news is that chest pain after surgery isnt always a life-threatening emergency.

    Depending on the type of surgery you had, chest pain may be a normal part of the healing process, especially if your incision was in the chest area. Chest pain can also be a result of:

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    Hormonal Changes Can Occur After Heart Surgery

    For women, your period can be affected by the surgery. It can temporally or even in cases permanently changed. Your periods can become irregular, heavy, lighter, or more painful. Whenever Im in the hospital for some reason my body just automatically decides its going to have my period even though its not that time.

    Still Having Chest Pain Even After Your Coronary Bypass Surgery

    WATCH Triple Bypass Open Heart Surgery

    Its understandable for a person, fresh from coronary bypass surgery, or even several weeks out, to think hes having a heart attack or something wrong with his heart, when he has chest pain.

    Chest wall pain after cardiac surgery may normally last 3-6 weeks, but may last as long as 12 weeks on rare occasions, says Dr. Michael Fiocco, Chief of Open Heart Surgery at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, one of the nations top 50 heart hospitals.

    Think of it this way:

    A surgeon just cut open your chest. This involves cracking open the sternum and using a crank-like device to pry it apart to expose the sac that surrounds the heart.

    After the bypass surgery, the surgeon reattaches the sternum, which is bone, using wire. Of course you will have chest pain after bypass surgery!

    Dr. Fiocco explains, This pain has a different quality from angina and most patients know the difference without question.

    Post-op pain is also related to movement, coughing, and normally can be reproduced with palpation of the chest wall, none of which occur with ischemic pain .

    Palpation means feeling and pressing with your fingers against your chest.

    Its extremely rare to have angina following CABG , and differentiating between angina and post-op pain should be simple with just a physical exam, continues Dr. Fiocco.

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    Wearing Certain Types Of Clothing Might Be Hard During Surgery Recovery

    Usually in discharge, they tell you to wear button-down clothing for a while, but what they dont tell you is that your skin is super sensitive and wearing tight clothing even a couple of months after might be hard. For women, wearing bras might be tough. Try to find comfortable sports bras you can unclasp or undershirts. I tend to wear bras now that dont have underwires and have a t-shirt cotton feel.

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