What happens at the hospital before the CABG procedure begins?
You will typically check into the hospital the evening before or
morning of your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedure for preoperative
education. You will take a shower with antibacterial soap the night before
surgery and will not be allowed anything to eat or drink after midnight.
Before your surgery, you will probably meet some of the members of
the surgical team, including the anesthesiologist. Your anesthesiologist is
responsible for giving you medicines to put you to sleep for your CABG
surgery and control your pain both during and after your surgery. This doctor
will explain the process of general anesthesia, make note of any allergies you
might have to medicines, and prescribe a sedative to make you feel more
comfortable and relaxed before the procedure begins.
I had my first heart attack 26 years ago, when I was 52. I was very active
then, sometimes jogging and often walking long distances. But I was also on the
congressional staff in Washington, and the day leading up to the attack was
even more hectic than usual. My boss was introducing major legislation, and I
had crafted an important floor speech. I didn’t have time for regular meals and
ate a huge cheeseburger for dinner, then smoked three or four cigarettes.
It happened about 3 in the morning...
Until your operating room is ready, you will remain in the
preoperative, or pre-op, room. Your family and friends will probably be asked
to remain in the waiting area. Usually your anesthesiologist or the
anesthesiology assistant will then start one or more intravenous (IV) lines in
your arm. You will be given saline fluid (to keep you hydrated), anesthesia,
and other medicines through your IV line before, during, and after your
Preparation in the operating room
When your surgery team is ready, you will be transported on a bed
with wheels from the holding area to the operating room. The staff will greet
you and make sure that you are as comfortable as possible. Soon, you will
general anesthesia through your IV line to put you to
sleep. After you become unconscious, which happens quickly, a small tube called
catheter will be placed through the opening of your
penis or female urinary tract (urethra) and into your bladder. The free end of
the catheter will then be hooked up to a plastic bag that will collect
If your surgeon plans on using pieces of your leg veins to create the
bypass grafts on your coronary arteries, your legs may be placed in a frog
position, with the soles of your feet placed together and knees spread apart.
Next, your chest, arms, and legs will be cleansed so that they are germ-free
during the procedure. Usually a yellow-brown solution known as Betadine
(povidone-iodine) is used to cleanse your body, as well as rubbing alcohol.
Sterile drapes will be placed on the parts of your body that are not involved
in the surgery.