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Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: What to Expect After You Go Home - Topic Overview

Emotional aspects of recovery

Recovering from CABG surgery means not only getting back your physical strength but also your emotional and mental well-being. The fatigue and pain you might be experiencing may make you feel depressed. You may:

  • Have mood swings.
  • Cry easily.
  • Feel afraid or anxious.
  • Get frustrated.
  • Be irritable.
  • Not be able to concentrate.
  • Have good days and bad days.

Also, limitations on your physical activity can leave you with few options to get out of the house and clear your head.

You should be aware that these feelings of depression are common for people who have had major heart surgery. You may also feel lonely and envious of other people who are living their lives without the discomfort and pain that you are experiencing right now.

Remember that you are going to start feeling better very soon. You are working to get back to your life—a life that may be more comfortable than before. Your new life is one with bypassed coronary arteries and more blood flowing to your heart. What this means for you is that you will not experience the chest pain, shortness of breath, or other symptoms that you had before.

It can be important to keep your family and friends around you during your recovery. They can go on walks with you or just sit and chat. You can ask your family or friends to put your children, grandchildren, or pets in your lap so you can feel close to them. Even though you need to be careful of your chest wound, you should continue to be affectionate with your family and friends. Affection can improve your mood and make you feel less lonely.

If you think you might be depressed, talk to your doctor. The sooner you know if you are depressed, the sooner you can get treatment. Treating depression is good for your health. You doctor may refer you to another doctor who diagnoses and treats depression.

Final thoughts

Your recovery at home after CABG surgery can be both physically and emotionally demanding. Knowing what to expect and what you can do to help your recovery can make it easier.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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