Patient Guide to Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery

Your Guide to Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery
Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (sometimes called CABG and pronounced “cabbage”) is one type of open heart surgery typically performed to open up one or more of the arteries in your heart. When an artery becomes blocked, parts of your heart do not get enough blood to function properly, making it necessary to perform coronary artery bypass graft surgery to restore the flow of blood to your heart.

Preparing for Surgery 
In order to prepare for coronary artery bypass graft surgery, you should follow specific instructions:

  • Discuss any medications you are currently taking.
  • Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen (if on a daily regimen, consult with your physician first).
  • Consult with your physician regarding taking any over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbs, food supplements and laxatives.
  • Your physician will prescribe an antibiotic before surgery.
  • Pre-operative blood tests will need to be scheduled.
  • The night before surgery, do not eat or drink anything past midnight; you may be given medication to help you sleep.

The Day of Surgery
On the day of surgery, you should be accompanied by someone who can sign necessary paperwork. Be sure to bring any other forms you have been asked to complete, along with a list of your medications. Do not wear contact lenses or bring any valuables. A Houston Methodist anesthesiologist will discuss the plan for medications and sedation during surgery to make it a pain-free experience.

During surgery, an incision will be made down the middle of your chest and a blood vessel called a graft (taken from elsewhere in your body) is attached above and below the blocked arteries to bypass the blocked vessel and reconnect blood flow to your heart. This procedure may require that you be put on a bypass machine. Your incisions will then be closed with wire, stiches and/or staples. You will then be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) to begin the healing process. 

A compassionate and highly skilled Houston Methodist caregiver will help you with getting out of bed that very day or the next and specific exercises will be recommended to expedite the healing and avoid any post-operative complications.

After surgery, your Houston Methodist cardiologist will recommend making certain lifestyle changes:

  • Eat healthy.
  • Incorporate low-fat foods into your diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Learn ways to manage stress.

Heart problems can be life-changing for patients and their families. Houston Methodist cardiologists are here to help with your recovery beyond your stay with us.

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