How to Prepare

What to expect before surgery

Before having bypass surgery, you will likely meet with your surgeon and anesthesiologist. They will provide instructions that will help you prepare for your operation.

You may receive instructions including:

  • Bring a list of any and all medications that you are taking—even over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, or vitamins and supplements
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your surgery
  • Do not bring personal items such as your watch, wallet, or jewelry to the hospital—ask someone to keep them for you

Before going into the operating room, you may be given a sedative to help you relax. In the operating room, you will receive medication through an IV that will let you sleep through the surgery without feeling pain.

Your surgeon will also let you know approximately how long the operation will take.

Reduce your risk

Remember that your surgery may have fixed one set of problems—but your new bypass grafts are just as susceptible to developing plaque build-up. You can improve your chances of a longer, healthier life by making some simple changes that can reduce your risk of developing coronary artery disease.

These steps include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Decrease high blood pressure
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Control high cholesterol
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight

For more information on coronary artery bypass surgery and endoscopic vessel harvesting, or questions you may have about your treatment, please contact your physician.

Making for a good recovery

Once your surgery is finished, you will go to either a surgery recovery room or the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Specially trained nurses and medical professionals will monitor your recovery closely.

  1. You may have a breathing tube until you can breathe on your own
  2. After the tube is removed, you will be asked to cough and do deep breathing exercises; this keeps your lungs clear
  3. Your heart rate and rhythm will be monitored
  4. A catheter will be in your bladder for a period of time after surgery
  5. You will be encouraged to move

Leaving the hospital

The length of time that you will be in the hospital depends on the type of procedure performed and your individual speed of recovery. Your surgeon will give you an estimate of how many days you will be in the hospital.

When you return home

Before you leave the hospital, you will receive instructions about what to do when you are at home. These instructions may include:

  1. Instructions for your follow-up appointments
  2. A list of your medications and instruction on how to take your medication
  3. When you will be able to shower and any special precautions to take
  4. Observing your incisions for redness, swelling, or fluid drainage
  5. Breathing exercises and coughing to keep your lungs clear
  6. Walking and lifting instructions and restrictions
  7. Resting when you feel tired
  8. Contacting your doctor if your pain is not tolerable or if you have questions