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Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: How to Prepare - Topic Overview

Medicine and CABG surgery

You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before surgery, so talk to your doctor as soon as you can.

Tell your doctors all the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia. Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your surgery.

If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.

On the day of your CABG operation, you should have only a sip of water with any medicine so that you keep your stomach empty.

Diabetes

If you have diabetes, your doctors may need to adjust your medicines to prepare for your CABG surgery. Since CABG surgery requires you to stop eating several hours before your procedure, your blood glucose level may drop so low that your regular medicines (which lower your glucose level) may not be needed. Talk to your doctors about the type and severity of your diabetes, as well as which medicines you are taking.

General arrangements

  • Arrange for transportation the day of your surgery, for someone to help you at home during your first week out of the hospital, and for someone to help with chores and errands for 1 to 2 months after your surgery. You may be too physically tired and sore after your surgery to do many things for yourself.
  • Prepay any bills that will be due soon after your surgery. You will probably want to concentrate on recovering, not on everyday affairs.
  • Arrange your personal matters, including a will, living will, and nursing preferences. In rare cases, serious complications of CABG surgery (including death) can happen. So you should plan for this possibility and make sure that you have made your end-of-life wishes clear.
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