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Coronary artery bypass surgery (CAB)

  • Coronary artery bypass surgery helps more blood get to your heart.

    A blood vessel, usually from your leg and/or chest wall, is used to make another path for blood around your blocked artery to the heart muscle.

    coronary artery bypass surgery

    You may hear the abbreviation CABG, which stands for coronary artery bypass graft.

    After CAB surgery tips

    • After surgery, you may hear popping and clicking sounds in your chest. These sounds are caused by cartilage between your ribs. If you hear this, avoid doing arm exercise and be careful with your arm movements. If you feel grating of the sternum in the middle of your chest, call your surgeon.
    • Wash your incision every day with a mild soap and water to help prevent infections.
    • Weigh yourself every day and keep a record. If you gain more than 3 pounds in one day, or 5 pounds in one week, call your doctor.
  • After CAB surgery questions and answers

    Incision and other care

    How will my incision heal?

    I'm worried about an infection in my incision. What should I watch for?

    Do I need to see my regular doctor?

    What if I miss a dose of my medicine?


    How will I know if I'm having angina or just incisional pain?

    Should I take nitroglycerin if I am having angina? What about calling 911?

    Home activities

    I hear it's hard to sleep when you get home from the hospital. Any suggestions?

    What if I'm constipated?

    Can I take a bath?

    How long before I can lift more than 10 pounds?

    Can I climb the stairs when I go home?

    When can I drive?

    When can I resume sexual activity?

    Can I walk outside?

    Can I ride my bike?

    I know I need to increase my activity, but how will I know if I'm doing too much?

    Which activities should I avoid?

    How should I progress in my activity — how fast should I go?

    I know I need to change my diet, but nothing tastes good. What should I do?

    When should I start the outpatient cardiac rehab program?

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