does anyone have any heart bypass surgery experiences to share?

I am looking to hear about differnt peoples experiences with their heart bypass surgeries---I am having one on wednesday and am very scared about it....i am 40--if you have an experience to share include your approximate age--im looking for confidence here lol---im terrified! mostly about not waking up or being in a lot of tubes and pain when i do wake up--any info will be greatly appreciated!

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    I'm 54, had surgery on January 13, 2006 (Friday). Mine was an emergency, not planned. I had them panicked from nearly total blockage across all three major arteries (99%, 99%, 80% in 4 sites) , so I was living on nearly 100% collateral circulation.

    Should definitely ask your doctor about the procedures, or they should have told you specifics already.

    I was under general anasthetic.

    A vein was removed from my leg, very unobtrusively. The old method was to cut the inside of the thigh from crotch to knee or ankle and extract the vein. For me, they made a 1/4 inch cut at the top inside of the thigh, and a one inch cut on the same side of the knee, and they simply pull the vein out. Knee incision is sutured an glued. I hardly had any limp to start, none after a few days. No scar at the hip end.

    Try to have it done this way if possible. Smaller incisions heal faster, less chance of infection.

    The chest gets opened, and tied shut on the inside. I have 7 wires ties that are visible on subsequent X-rays. So a 9-inch scar upper chest, and another small scar like a 2nd tiny belly button 3-inches below that, from a drain tube.

    They had me walk from cardiac ICU to the the cardiac recovery ward end of the 2nd day. I did not think I could, but did.

    You'll have a clutch pillow to hold in case you sneeze, laugh, cough, etc, so you keep your arms folded to try to keep any stress off the chest while it heals. Practice breathing from your belly, because you will have to afterwards. Chest expanding breaths will be impossible without a lot of pain while healing. I went home the following Friday.

    I got to miss the scary part, coming out of anasthetic. I have a very bad gag reflex, and I thrashed a lot with the breathing tube in my throat, sending up my heart rate and blood pressure. My wife calmed me down, talking me through and gave me feedback that I was doing the right things to calm down, so that my breathing and heart rate returned to normal so they could remove the tube. It took about 10 minutes. They had to kick my sister out of the room, as she was almost more aggravating than the tube. I found that pretty funny afterwards.

    I was physically in good shape, and returned to work in two months. Just be patient, and do what you can in rehab. As a former coach and athlete, I did my own rehab, plus two previous heart issues. Plan to do the rehab. Its long, its gradual, and at first its depressing since you can't do much. You'll recovery fully, if not even better. Be patient.

    I slept on the couch at home for 6-8 weeks, because I kept my shoulders up more easily, and had less pain. Propped on the bed, I slid down, or tried to roll. Both bad news. On the couch, for some reason I did not try to roll, and did not slip down, so I was more comfortable.

    I was at a hospital and with a surgical team that does about 300 similar surgeries a year, and another 1200 angiograms, so it was a routine procedure. My angina was so fierce, resting and waiting for surgery was a nice change the day after the angiogram . No apprehension on my part.

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  • 4 years ago


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  • 1 decade ago

    I am 56 and I had a triple by-pass in Dec 2006. I am quite fit, not over weight, never smoked, eat well and my cholesterol was average. However my mother had two heart attacks and a triple bypass in her 40's , so in my case, it's hereditary. I have what the docs call "the widow maker" because it is usually fatal. I had a 95% blockage of the "left main" coronary artery. The operation want well and I was out of the hospital in 4 days. In my case, they used the "internal mammary arteries" for the grafts. At home, I slept in a reclining chair for 3 weeks as laying in bed was too uncomfortable. I kept a log book of my thoughts during the hospital stay and as well as my recovery. There are some drainage tubes in your chest after the operation but the pain is not that bad. After two months, 1 of the 3 bypasses failed so I had to go back in and had 3 cypher stents put into the LAD. ( one of the left coronaries ). So far, everything is great. Rehab went well. The hardest part, I find, is the drugs that I take. Beta blockers to keep the heart rate down, tend to always make a person tired. Hopefully, the cardiologist will cut back on the dosage.

    Summary: If I had to go throught the operation again to save my life, I would. It's not that bad.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I see you have quite alot of answers and opinions on coranary bypass surgery. I had double bypass in 2003 at the age of 48 .With my mother having hers in1978 at age 47 so it was definatly in our familr history.They did cut my mothers legs from ankle to thighs,which was more devastating then sawing your chest open.Fortunatly they only make small incisions with most all proceeders.The fact that you are so young you will fair much better then most,I could say don't fret it you will do just fine,but I know darn well you will still be scared and you'll cry with your loved ones before the surgery like they will never see you again.But hey I made it thru and the Doctor even had to take my heart out to repair a valve.

    Plus when your done you will get ice chips to try to feed to yourself in the recovery room,and once they take you to your room you will have nurses making darn sure your pain level is kept to a minimum.Between,Morphine ,Tylenol 3 or vicodin,and shots of toradol you'll be feeling no pain and like a zombie for a few days ,then they will pull the tubes and the wires at this point you'llhave walked around the ward a few times at least.Within a few mounths you will feel better then you felt in a long time.Talk about good sex ,that's a good fringe benifit.I wish you the best and check into a support group at the hospital you are at.Good luck and God Bless

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I had mine when I was 38 and I am still ticking at 63 as I am

    here typing. Your hospital should provide you with a vidio to watch before surgery. they have made many improvements

    since I had mine. I also had the fear of not waking up. It helps

    to have a positive attitude going into this, such as wanting to

    see your family when you wake up, reminding yourself of the

    goals you have not yet accomplished, such as seeing your

    grandchildren, taking a tour of Italy to see all the ancient

    history. It takes about six months for the swelling to go down.

    You will feel like you got a grapfruit inside you for that long.

    Start walking when told to, the faster you get back on your

    feet, the less risk of a heart attack after surgery. take all your

    medications as prescribed, your withdrawal from you with

    periods of depression and crying for no reason. That will pass

    shortly. If you have a job, expect to be off for several months.

    Since summer is coming, you can take plenty of walks and carry a cell phone if alone. There are many today that walks,

    so you won"t feel out of place.There is also physical theropy

    available. Most insurances include it, so check into it.

    This fall have a Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas!!!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Im 40 and female and had a quintuple bypass surgery on the 4th of April. I was caught totally unaware. Im a pawnbroker and was having what I thought was heartburn on and off particularly at work. Being a pawnbroker isnt the easiest job in the world so I ate lots of Tums and worked 10 and 11 hrs a day. Finally when the pain started to wake me up at night I went in to the walk in clinic who made me see a specialist for a stress test. *L* I didnt make it 4 minutes on the tredmil before the pain was there and I was completely out of breath. I was suppose to clock in at work at noon but they admitted me to the hospital right then and there for an angio gram. Darlin, I do not like needles at all, I went thru natural child birth rather than have an epidural. Anyway, after two IV's were planted into me by very sweet and kind people (my hospital staff was awesome!!!!) and going thru the angio thingy the doctors felt that I needed 3 bypasses or graphs, when they got in there they discovered not 3 but 5 that needed to be taken care of. I woke to being very uncomfortable and they did have to restrain me because I tried to take out the breathing tube in the recovery room after my surgery. That was the worst but not everyone remembers that part, I do because I felt them trying to hold me down and get restraints and some one telling me to cough as they removed the breathing tube. This will be the worst part. After that they give you wonderful pain drugs and you will sleep. Then after a day or so you will need to get up and walk and move. It will be tiring and a little painful but honey you need to do it. One, it will keep pnuemonia away which can be an issue, and two, it actually helps you feel and heal better quicker. Im almost 1 mo out from my surgery, I still get tired quickly, my skin is dry for some reason, and I feel like I have post partum depression, but Im here and my heart didnt recieve any damage because they caught this in time and I have a 16 and 17 year old who I will live to see graduate from high school, and get married, and have kids of their own. Its scary but look at what you have to look forward to being around to see. *Big hugs* It will be alright.

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  • 1 decade ago

    wow! so young! My dad had one, and I've taken care of many people that have had them. You are so young, you should do well. Nurses keep you comfortable with medicine afterward, and if you need some, tell them. I've taken care of people that have had heart surgery and abdominal surgery, and most of them have said the abdominal surgery was more difficult. The first 3 days are the roughest, and after that, it gets much easier. They'll have you up and moving soon after. Take every day at a time, try not to do too much, listen to what the nurses and docs tell you. Remember, many, many people have had your type of surgery and do well. Go with the majority here. Good luck, God bless.

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  • 5 years ago

    I am 59, male, never been in a hospital in my entire life. But I led a stressful Navy life for twenty years, drank heavily for many years, and smoked continuously.

    I just had my quadruple bypass surgery. I too was scared to death. No idea about surgery or hospitals at all. It is a bit over whelming for sure.

    Thank God I had an excellent cardiologist who would not stop until he knew exactly what was wrong with my heart.

    I had one of the top surgeons in the world today. Just a God-send for sure. I did a lot of research before my operation. All this did was scare me more. I made it through my surgery, two days ICU, 3 days in rehab unit and home I came. My advise is listen to your nurses while in the hospital, from ICU when you wake up to the rehab unit, RN"s to the CNA who will give you your first shower. Listen to your Dr. and your cardiologist. Do your follow up appointments as scheduled. I am home, slept in recliner for two weeks, couch for another week, finally made it into bed again, laying flat of course for another week. Things we take for granted before our surgery will not be so easy for awhile.

    As a recovering alcoholic with over 21 years of sobriety now, we must make changes in our life styles at certain times along the journey. now after CABG is again one of these times . I will do exactly as the DR, cardiologist, RN, CNA, and wife ask so that I may recover completely and healthy. I will not rush to go back to work as I do maintenance work. Recover first.

    You will be fine my friend, trust me. Just let go and let God and all will be fine for you.

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  • 1 decade ago

    i personally have not but my mom and mother in law and my grampa did.. i won't lie to you there is pain and discomfort involved for a period of time . how long will depend on you. some people seem to feel pain more than others. talk to your doctor about pain before and after the surgery.let this person know you hate pain and have a very low tolerance to mom had to quit smoking before the doctors would agree to the surgery.. then within weeks after it she started again, she died only about three years after hers was done. my mother in law had hers done about three years ago. she is doing fine , her pain now is just in her leg where the veins were taken from but just minimal. my grampa is the hero of this story. he had it done when he was about 76 or so .. eleven days after the surgery he went home and that same day shoveled the side walk of the snow accumulation from his absence. he died from bone cancer when he was 93 years old.

    i hope this can help you ..god speed .

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