What is a coronary bypass surgery?
Coronary bypass surgery is a surgery of the heart. It uses blood vessels taken from another part of the body to bypass the blocked or narrowed section of the coronary (heart) arteries. The surgery helps people whose coronary arteries have narrowed or have been blocked due to mass material called plaque. Bypass allows greater oxygen flow through the heart muscle.
How do the arteries of your heart become blocked?
Over time, fat, cholesterol and other substances build up on artery walls forming plaques. When the plaque separates, a clot is formed, the blood flow through the heart is blocked and it may lead to chest discomfort called angina and heart attack.
How is the surgery performed?
- Your doctor will take a blood vessel from the chest or from your leg.
- One end of the vessel is attached to your aorta (the largest blood vessel that comes out of the heart), and the other end is attached to the coronary artery below the point where it is blocked.
- Now blood flow through the new channel to the heart can be realized.
- You can have more than one artery bypass made, depending on the number of arteries that have been blocked.
- You will sleep during the surgery that will last approximately 3-6 hours.
- After the surgery you will be accommodated in the intensive care unit for several days.
- Your family can visit you briefly in the intensive care unit.
- You will wake up at the intensive care unit and first you will feel confused.
- It is always dynamic at the intensive care unit and the lights are always on. It is normal to lose sense of time.
- You will have a tube in the mouth and the throat which will help you breathe. It is not comfortable and you won’t be able to speak, however the nurses will help you to communicate.
- The breathing tube will stay until you can breathe independently – for a few hours.
- You will be connected to machines that monitor you heart rate and the blood pressure during the first 12 to 24 hours.
- You will be transferred to a hospital room.
- You will feel exhaustion and pain.
- You will sweat at night.
- You will be given medications.
- You will need to breathe deeply and cough hard in order to clean your lungs from liquids.
- You will be able to move and walk almost immediately.
- You can eat normally and you will feel better every day.
- Talk to your doctor, nurse or other medical staff.
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