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

End-of-life issues

You should discuss complications of CABG surgery a few weeks beforehand with both your surgeon and your family. In particular, you may wish to clarify your desires about matters such as life support (such as a breathing tube or medicines to keep you alive) and resuscitation measures (such as chest compressions and electric shock) in case of an emergency.

Also, you may want to consider becoming an organ and tissue donor. If you are an organ and tissue donor, your liver, lungs, kidneys, and other organs can be donated to another person who needs them in case you die during your surgery. Although only a very small percentage of all CABG surgeries done result in death, it is important to prepare in case this happens.

The day before your surgery

  • Remind the person who will drive you to the hospital what time you need to be there. It is important to arrive on time, as several preoperative tests and administrative tasks must be done.
  • Follow the instructions about exactly when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor has instructed you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, do so using only a sip of water.
  • Relax, but do not drink alcohol. It may dangerously interfere with medicines you will be given on the day of your surgery.
  • Use disinfecting solution (that your doctor may have given you) to clean your skin. This will minimize the risk of infection near your chest incision.
  • Select comfortable clothes to wear to and from the hospital. After the surgery, your wounds and muscles will still be sensitive, and comfortable clothing is less likely to irritate them.
  • Pack the bag that you will bring to the hospital. In general, hospital staff recommend that you pack lightly.

What to bring to the hospital

  • Identification
  • Contact and emergency information
  • Insurance information
  • Essential items, including glasses, hearing aids, dentures, or other personal items that you need to function
  • Comfortable clothes that are easy to put on and take off to wear to and from the hospital
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