How to Prepare for a Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart bypass surgery or in other words Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) is a surgical method that enables a person to bypass a blocked section of the coronary arteries and thereby improve the circulation to the heart musculature to improve its performance. The surgery is considered a major operation and carries a certain degree of life risk as with many other major surgeries. But, with modern day technology and improved evidence based practices, it would be possible for surgeons to perform a bypass surgery with minimum risk to the life of the patient.

In these surgeries, it is not only during surgery that a person is at risk of developing complications. Following the surgery, unless the patient adheres to the advice given by the surgeons, it is possible for the patient to develop complications which at times even be life threatening.

When looking at such complications in a broader perspective, the pre operative preparation would have played a major role in its prevention. The reason being that, many of the complications seen following a surgery can be trailed back to pre operative days. For example, uncontrolled blood sugar, pathogenic organisms in the skin, poorly controlled blood pressure, poor oral hygiene, impaired lung capacity, bleeding tendencies due to medications as well as development of constipation can be highlighted as some of the preventable instances which can make the difference in the recovery phase. Thus, the measures taken in before a bypass surgery would have to address these issues apart from preparing the patient both physically as well as mentally for the event.

Let us now discuss some of the measures that can be used to prepare you for a CABG.

-Talk with your surgeon and the medical team in relation to the operative procedures, measures to take before surgery, events following surgery, possible complications as well as on facilities provided at the center.

-Discuss the medications that you take with your physicians and decide on which needs to be continued and which needs omission. Medications such as Aspirin would be required to stop one week before the surgery and rest of the medications would have to be evaluated one by one as well.

-Take fiber rich foods such as vegetables and fruits for about a week prior to surgery to avoid the development of constipation in the recovery period. But, further advice in this regard should be taken from your physicians before undertaking such measures.

-Make sure you adhere to a diabetic diet as well as monitor your blood sugar levels to achieve good control.

-Undertake all the investigations recommended by your surgeon and the team as pre-operative measure for surgery.

-You should take body washes using antiseptic soap for at least three days prior to surgery and the soap that you use should be compatible with the recommendations made by the surgeons and from the surgical center.

-Practice deep breathing methods to increase lung capacity to promote easy excretion of secretions that might get collected in the lungs or else prevent the possibility of developing respiratory infections.

-Make arrangements for the weeks following surgery as you may not be able to attend your usual work for 4 – 6 weeks.

-Practice relaxation techniques to reduce the stress as well as anxiety which may contribute towards mental preparation for surgery as well.

Apart from this, you should seek advice from your doctors in relation to specific measures that needs to be taken to undergo a heart bypass successfully.