After Heart Bypass Surgery

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After Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart bypass surgery is one of the most critical surgeries that a person can ever undergo and despite advancements in modern medicine and improved success rates in many cardiac hospitals all over the world, recovery and life after heart bypass surgery remains to be a major concern.

Unlike other major surgeries where the actual operation is the most critical facet, heart bypass surgery actually demands more focus and attention after surgery is completed. While surgery can serve to prolong a patient’s life, the length is still very much a factor of how well the recovery goes after heart bypass surgery is done.

Immediately after heart bypass surgery, the patient must be taken into a surgical intensive care unit (ICU). This controlled environment eliminates all external stressors that can retard the recovery process and instead dedicates extra nursing care and intensive monitoring of the patient. During this period, medication is also slowly administered for a variety of purposes including blood clotting factors to help heal the wound and stimulators to ward off the effects of anesthesia.

In major surgeries, pain medication like morphine might also be necessary to manage a host of surgery induced pains but this must only be done under the services of a qualified physician. Because of the gravity and delicate nature of these steps, it is ultra-necessary to conduct these under the stringent guidelines imposed in an Intensive Care facility.

Once the intensive care phase has completed and the patient has shown signs of healthy recovery, life after heart bypass surgery proceeds to the next phase which is rehabilitation. This can either be done at home or in a facility that specializes in heart rehabilitation programs for strength and stamina recovery, depending on the specific needs of the patient. However, regardless of the preferred location for rehabilitation, it is worthwhile to note that heart bypass surgery doesn’t totally eliminate the risk towards further heart damage due to artery blockage. In fact, it only serves to treat the affected area.

Life after heart bypass surgery must intensively focus on lifestyle changes including eliminating smoking, controlling blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels to prevent the recurrence of the disease. Without these measures, the actual surgery will only serve as a means to delay the inevitable and the next episode might be severe enough that no amount of subsequent surgery can treat it.

To prevent post-surgical complications, patients take a variety of medications that must be maintained after heart bypass surgery. These medications range from antiplatelet therapy to prevent excessive clotting which cause new blockages in the grafted arteries, beta blockers to slow down heart rate and lower blood pressure, nitrates to dilate blood vessels bringing more blood to the heart muscles, ACE inhibitors to treat high blood pressure, and lipid therapy for cholesterol management. Most patients will not have the same medications in the same dosage and frequency but the reality of supplemental medicines is to be expected after heart bypass surgery.

The last step in the road to recovery is a targeted cardiac rehabilitation routine which includes exercising, stress minimization, and the already mentioned lifestyle changes. This step is a multi-faceted approach to making sure that the blockage will not recur again.


It is absolutely important to seek the counsel of an experienced medical professional to define all components of an after heart bypass surgery recovery routine including diet, acceptable exercises in terms of frequency and intensity, and the necessary side therapies to stop smoking, drinking and other risk factors. There is no single step to prevent heart problems from recurring but with a concerted and educated strategy, the patient should hope to live many more years after a successful heart operation.

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