Before you can leave the hospital, you must be able to eat and digest
your meals. Although at first you may not be hungry enough to eat much food,
you will need to get all the energy that the food provides as you become more
active in the days following your CABG surgery. It is important that you eat
meals that are low in salt (which helps you to get rid of extra water) and low
in fat (which helps prevent plaque from forming on your new bypass grafts or
the healthy portions of your coronary arteries).
Anesthesia and appetite
Along with putting you to sleep during surgery, anesthesia has
several side effects. Two of the most unpleasant side effects are nausea and
constipation. While nausea will soon wear off, your constipation can leave you
uncomfortable for several days after your surgery. Your nurses can give you a
medicine to promote bowel movement. However, eating may actually be the most
effective means of ending constipation, because food will push waste through
You should also be able to sit up in a chair for at least an hour by
the time you leave the hospital. Sitting up is a good way to expand your lungs
and help them reach full capacity. Sitting also helps:
- Increase strength.
- Improve blood
- Alleviate constipation.
- Prevent blood clots in your legs.
You should try to walk about
100 ft (30 m) four times per
day. This usually means a trip around the hallway of the cardiac recovery
floor. You may need help at first. Walking is especially important because it
shows that you are physically able to get around after you leave the hospital.
Walking also helps:
- Expand lung capacity.
- Improve blood circulation.
- Prevent pneumonia.
- Prevent blood clots in
Ready or not?
You may meet most of the criteria to go home but may not be able to
do certain things well enough to go home. In this case, you may go to a type of
assisted-living facility instead of to your home. Nurses and rehabilitation
specialists at an assisted-living facility can help you work toward getting
Support during your recovery
During recovery, the hospital staff can help you a great deal. You
will need to move around despite your incisions and to breathe deeply despite
Medical teams that will help you with your recovery
- Doctors: Your doctors (including your cardiac
surgeon, cardiologist, and various specialists) will check on your daily
progress, examine you, prescribe and adjust your medicines, and treat any
- Nursing team: Your nurses will help make sure that
you take your medicines, assist you with moving around and getting to the
bathroom, and monitor your blood pressure, temperature, and pulse. They are
also in the hospital ward around the clock and can help you if you have any
medical or other concerns.
- Other medical team members: These
physical therapists, and
- Additional hospital
staff support: While doctors and nurses help to ensure that you are recovering
from your CABG surgery, other hospital staff can assist you in other ways. For
example, they can help you organize your belongings, answer questions about
your recovery, and direct you to helpful medical resources. Working with these
staff members may help you reach your recovery goals. Hospital staff members
who may visit you during your hospital stay include:
- A social worker, who makes sure that you go
home with any help or nursing that you may need.
- Your case manager,
who interacts with your insurance company and can help you extend your
insurance coverage for additional recovery days or rehabilitation
- The chaplain, who can provide you with spiritual and