Heart Bypass Surgery
Alternate Names : Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery, CABG, Coronary Revascularization, Coronary Bypass
What happens right after the procedure?
After surgery, the person is taken right away to the intensive care unit, or ICU. He or she will be given medication for the first few hours to make him or her sleep. When the person awakens, he or she should not be alarmed to find:
a breathing tube, called an endotracheal tube, down the windpipe. This tube is attached to a ventilator, or artificial breathing machine, to ensure deep breaths and to make it easier for the person to breath. This will be removed when he or she is awake, and able to take deep breaths.
a stomach tube, called a nasogastric tube, in the nose to drain the stomach and prevent nausea and stomach swelling
a narrow tube, called a urinary catheter, in the bladder to measure the amount of the urine the body is making.
one or two tubes in the chest to prevent fluid build-up
many intravenous, or IV, lines to give fluids and blood as needed
a small tube in the wrist to monitor blood pressure closely
a tube in the neck to monitor how well the heart is pumping and to allow an easy, painless way to draw blood
The person will be given pain medication as needed.
On the first day after surgery, many of the tubes will be removed. The person may be transferred to the step down unit, or telemetry unit, if there have been no problems. In the telemetry unit the person will:
be asked to breath deeply and cough often to prevent pneumonia
be encouraged to sit at the edge of the bed and dangle his or her feet
have the chest tube and urinary catheter removed
eat, if possible, starting with clear liquids
be given pain medication if it is needed
begin walking within the first few days. This will help to prevent blood clots from forming, and reduce ankle swelling.
The average hospital stay following heart bypass surgery is 4 to 7 days.