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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.

arrow points to link to more clinical trials informationMore about coronary artery bypass surgery

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


Tips for sitting and standing up from sitting:

  • Do not sit with your legs crossed.
  • Sit up straight with your knees together and your feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms relaxed.
  • If your leg with the incision is stiff, it will be easier to sit down by putting the incision leg slightly in front and having the back of the other knee touching the seat of the chair. Then tilt your hips forward as you bend your knees and sit on the front one-third of the chair. Scoot back into the chair.
  • To stand from a seated position, cross your hands across your chest or pillow. Rock back and forth a couple of times, leaning forward to come to a standing position.
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?



Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 06/01/2007

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts