Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), commonly referred to as bypass surgery, is common. Coronary bypass surgery involves reopening an obstructed coronary artery by removing a blockage (such as a buildup of cholesterol and other substances).
Research shows that a CABG is the most commonly performed heart surgery procedure worldwide. While Blacks experience a higher incidence of heart disease (such as atherosclerosis), compared to other ethnic groups, they are much less likely to have cardiac (heart) treatment interventions (such as a CABG).
Getting ready for bypass surgery at home
Preparing yourself for bypass surgery is no small undertaking. Normal emotions associated with the upcoming event may include fear, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. Educating yourself on what to expect and how to prepare for the procedure can help alleviate negative emotions. Tips on how to get yourself ready for bypass surgery at home include diet and lifestyle changes, breathing exercises to optimize your lung health before surgery, and more. By employing some of these simple, (but not always easy) changes, you will be helping yourself improve the outcome of your surgery and shorten the recovery phase after your procedure.
Lifestyle changes before surgery
You can shorten your recovery period and improve the outcome of your bypass surgery by implementing some lifestyle and other changes beforehand.
Quitting smoking: Ideally, you should give up smoking between two and four weeks before your surgery. If you smoke, it will delay your healing process after the surgery. New research reveals that quitting smoking approximately four weeks before surgery led to fewer postoperative (after surgery) complications. Recovery outcomes—such as how long it takes to return to normal functioning after surgery— were better for those who stopped smoking before surgery.
Quitting drinking: Alcohol should be avoided starting at least two days before surgery, Research indicates that heavy drinking increased the death rate for people who had heart bypass surgery (CABG). Alcohol consumption that exceeds five drinks each day is considered excessive by the American Heart Association. An average-sized alcoholic beverage equals 1.5 ounces of spirits, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.
Note, if you are a heavy drinker, talk to your heart doctor or primary healthcare provider before your CABG procedure if you cannot quit drinking before your surgery.
Performing deep breathing exercises: Beginning deep breathing exercises before surgery is a great way to empower yourself to be proactive. Taking slow, deep breaths before and after surgery helps reduce the risk of pneumonia. Pneumonia is a common complication that occurs after surgery. Ask your health care provider about getting a device to help you perform deep breathing exercises, called an incentive spirometer. It will help if you practice deep breathing exercises approximately every three hours. There has been extensive research showing that deep breathing exercises before surgery helps decrease the risk of pneumonia or other lung problems following surgery. Researchers found that patients who spoke with a therapist before surgery and learned breathing exercises experienced a 50% decrease in pneumonia and other serious complications.
Eating a healthy diet: Eating heart-healthy foods before your surgery will lend itself to faster healing after the procedure. The American Heart Association has specific recommendations on which foods to eat and avoid on the heart-healthy diet. If you are overweight, losing the extra pounds is vital to heart health. To lose weight safely, you should aim to lose it gradually over time rather than attempting to lose it rapidly before your surgery. Eating nutrient-dense foods (such as bright-colored fruits and vegetables) and adequate protein, complex carbohydrates (such as whole-wheat bread), and healthy fats (like avocados), will help your body heal after the surgery. Consider high protein supplement drinks if your appetite is not good. Your doctor may recommend a dietician if you are