Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
What To Expect After Surgery
After surgery, there will be a short stay (1 to 2 days if there are no complications) in the intensive care unit (ICU). In the ICU, the person will likely have:
- Continuous monitoring of his or her heart activity.
- A tube to temporarily help with breathing.
- A stomach tube, to remove stomach secretions until the person starts eating again.
- A tube (catheter) to drain the bladder and measure urine output.
- Tubes connected to veins in the arms (intravenous, or IV, lines) through which fluids, nutrition, and medicine can be given.
- An arterial line to measure blood pressure.
- Chest tubes, to drain the chest cavity of fluid and blood (which is temporary and normal) after surgery.
You will typically stay in the hospital from 3 to 8 days after open-chest bypass surgery. The amount of time you stay varies and will depend on your health before bypass surgery and whether complications develop from surgery.
After discharge, recovery at home takes 4 to 6 weeks. Recovery includes physical therapy, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, and diet counseling. Exercise and driving may be resumed after about 2 to 3 weeks. People who are able to return to work can usually do so within 1 to 2 months, depending on the type of work they do. Some people find that they experience heightened emotions (such as a greater tendency to cry or otherwise show emotion in ways that are unusual compared with before the procedure) for up to a year following surgery.
After your surgery, your doctor may suggest that you attend a Reference cardiac rehabilitation Opens New Window program. In cardiac rehab, a team of health professionals provides education and support to help you recover.
The rehab team can help you make new, healthy habits, such as eating right and getting more exercise.