Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery- Post Operative Care

What is CABG?

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (CABG) is a procedure used to treat Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). It is the narrowing of the coronary arteries (the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle), caused by a buildup of fatty material within the walls of the arteries. This buildup causes the narrowing of the inside of the arteries, limiting the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.

Symptoms

Unfortunately, there are no definite symptoms of early CAD, yet the disease continues to progress to cause symptoms and problems. If the blood supply to the heart muscle continues to decrease as a result of increasing obstruction of a coronary artery, a myocardial infarction, or heart attack, may occur. If the blood flow cannot be restored to a particular area of the heart muscle, then that tissue dies.

Symptoms of CAD include chest pain, fatigue, palpitations, abnormal heart rhythms and shortness of breath.

Procedure

Coronary artery bypass surgery is performed to treat a blockage or narrowing of one or more of the coronary arteries, thus restoring the blood supply to the heart muscle.

One way to treat the blocked or narrowed arteries is to bypass the blocked portion of the coronary artery with another piece of blood vessel. Blood vessels, or grafts, used for the bypass procedure may be pieces of a vein taken from the legs or an artery in the chest. Thus, the blood is rerouted around, or bypasses, the blockage through the new graft to reach the heart muscle.

Two other surgical improvements for persons undergoing CABG are endoscopic vein harvesting and endoscopic radial artery harvesting. In both these procedures, surgeons use an endoscope to locate blood vessels that will be used for bypassing the blocked coronary arteries.

Post-Surgical Treatment

Proper care after bypass aims at reducing the risk factors for heart disease. This includes strategies to help patients and family members to stop smoking, control high blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, begin exercising regularly, and reduce stress. Some of these changes can be done by altering lifestyle habits through diet and exercise.

During an online Q&A webinar session conducted by Narayana Hrudayalaya, one of the questions discussed was as follows:

My mother is 58 years old and had undergonea CABG, few years ago. What precautions that should be followed, in order to avoid the occurrence of another heart attack?

Dr. Shetty, Chairman Narayana Health, with over 30 years of cardiac surgical experience, said that the occurrence for a second heart attack nearing the 60 year mark is rare. Apparently cardiac diseases become less aggressive with age. However, patients who have undergone a CABG in the past shouldn’t take this information for granted, but should strictly continue their routine checkups and daily medications for a healthier and safer heart.

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