Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

November 5, 2007 by admin in Heart with 0 Comments

Coronary artery heart bypass graft surgery is a common procedure. It is also referred to as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or “cabbage”.Coronary artery bypass surgery is used in emergency situations to treat heart attacks when medicine or an angioplasty won’t work. Bypass surgery is also used to treat people with diabetes. There have been studies done that show that heart bypass surgery reduces the rate of death in anyone that has diabetes.

There are many people who will have to have coronary bypass surgery because of blocked arteries that are causing them heart problems. Before you have the surgery you will want to know as much about it as you can. Here is some information to help you know what to expect if you ever need to have this surgery.

A lot of people never think about the heart until they have a heart attack or other types of heart problems.  Your heart has to have blood and oxygen to function properly. There are many coronary arteries that move across the surface of the heart. These arteries are constantly delivering blood and oxygen to the heart. When you have an artery that becomes blocked or narrow, the blood and oxygen can’t get through as well and this causes the heart muscles to become damaged, which in turn means that you will have to have surgery.

So who is heart bypass surgery for? It can be for anyone with blocked arteries but the people who will definitely have to have it are the ones that have any one of the following.

  • When you have chest pains that are caused by narrow arteries that go to the heart, this will cause a shortage of blood while you are resting or doing light exercise. This can be treated with an angioplasty and stent placement but these are not always successful. This is when you would have to have a bypass.
  • There are times that there will be more than one diseased coronary artery and this will cause the left ventricle of the heart to not function properly.
  • When your left main coronary artery is blocked or severely narrow you will need this type of surgery because this is the artery that sends blood to the left ventricle of the heart.
  • There are times that you will have had an angioplasty to try and take care of the blocked artery but it isn’t always successful. Then there are times that you have had an angioplasty and it was successful for a while but now the artery has become narrow again, this is also known as restenosis.

When you have coronary artery disease, the coronary bypass surgery will not cure the disease. Even when you have had the bypass surgery you will still have to change your lifestyle. This is an integral part of the treatment after bypass surgery . In order to reduce the chance of future blockages and heart attacks, it is critical that you change your lifestyle especially if you smoke. You need to make sure that you exercise and eat right. You will have to watch for and reduce certain types of fat in your diet, control any high blood pressure, diabetes and any other risk factors for heart disease. The more you take care of yourself after gastric bypass surgery the less chance you have of having to go through it again. After you have heart surgery it is common for medications to be given that will help you to lower your blood cholesterol, reduce the risk of developing a blood clot and to help your heart function as it should.

Do you know what you need to do to prepare for bypass surgery? Not many people do. When you have to have this surgery your doctor will give you specific instructions on what you need to do. They will tell you what dietary changes or activity restrictions you need to follow before you have surgery. There will also be several pre-surgery tests that need to be done. This will include chest x-rays, blood tests, an electrocardiogram and a coronary angiogram (this is a special type of x-ray procedure that will use dye to show the arteries to your heart better). Most of the time, when you have to have bypass surgery you will be admitted to the hospital on the same day as the surgery.

So now that you have had the bypass surgery, how long should you expect the recovery to take? You will spend a day or two in the intensive care unit after you have the surgery. This is so that your heart, blood pressure, breathing and other vital signs can be watched on a continuous basis. The breathing tube will be taken out after you are awake enough for you to breathe on your own.

When there are no complications, you will more than likely be discharged from the hospital within a week. It will then take you about six to twelve weeks to recover from that point on. Most of the times you will not be allowed to go back to work until the six weeks are up. This is something that you will have to talk to your doctor about because everyone is different on how they heal from surgery.

Now that you have had the surgery, what type of results should you see in your improvement? Most of the time the people who have had surgery will have an improvement or a complete recovery of their heart symptoms and they will remain that way for a few years or more, it just depends on the person. Once you have had either coronary artery bypass graft surgery, triple bypass surgery or even quadruple bypass surgery , you have more of a chance of other arteries over time becoming blocked or narrow, which will result in another bypass surgery or angioplasty.

Even though you have had surgery, it doesn’t mean you can go back to your old habits. You have to change your lifestyle to help with your recovery and to help you not have a recurrence of the heart problems. Even though you may not do some of these things you have to make sure that you change the ones that you do.

  • You need to stop smoking if you do.
  • Reduce your cholesterol levels and once they are low you want to make sure that you do everything you can to keep them that way.
  • Keep your weight at the level it is supposed to be for your height. You want to stay at a healthy weight as much as you can.
  • Make sure that you control your blood pressure. If you can it is a good idea to check it on a regular basis.
  • Manage your diabetes as much as you can.
  • Get plenty of exercise.

Do you know what the heart bypass surgery risks are? This is definitely something you should know if you have to go through with this surgery at anytime in your life. When you have to have bypass surgery the risk of death is usually low. It will all depend on the person having the surgery and what their health is at the time of the surgery. When the operation is done in an emergency situation or when you have other health conditions such as emphysema, diabetes, kidney disease or any other medical condition that has to be taken into consideration, then the risk is significantly higher. There are other complications that can happen after you have surgery such as arrhythmias, kidney failure, stroke and infections.

The risks are different for every person. There are some people who will have a decline in their memory or other cognitive functions after they have had surgery. Some of the things that cause this is said to be old age, high blood pressure, lung disease and drinking too much alcohol. For the most part, the people who lose their cognitive abilities will gradually regain them within six to twelve months after the surgery. One thing to note is that bypass surgery doesn’t cause dementia but it can worsen any pre-existing mental decline which includes early dementia.

Coronary heart bypass surgery is definitely something that you want to know about if you have to go through it or know someone who does. By getting as much information as you can you will be one step ahead when you have to have surgery, plus it will make it less scary because you will know what to expect. This surgery will help you get your life back and also help you live a longer and healthier life.

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