Tell me about recovering from open heart surgery

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I have a blocked artery feeding the bottom L of my heart. Inserting a stent failed back in 2019. However, there are smaller vessels till feeding the area. My condition is "optimized" with a daily dose of 4 pills. I tuned up with a cardiac re-hab program. I can walk a 25minute mile/3' slope on a treadmill and keep my pulse rate under 105 BPM and burn 160 calories doing it. I'm retired and try to keep busy around the house puttering on stuff suitable for a 70 yr old guy to be puttering on at a reduced pace. I kept the walks shoveled and the driveway clear of snow through 3 events this winter. My Cardiologist is a sweet young thing who looks like she is still in high school. Jeeze that sounds ageist. Anyway, every 6 months at my checkup she presses me to get a bypass. Last yr, it was 5 months getting back after my lung surgery, what is like to recover from a bypass? What about the sternum? My next stop is to find some text about the procedure. TIA
 
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Both my father and my best friend had bypasses done without the heart lung machine. Procedure performed on a beating heart. Both had about 3 days of pain and drug induced torment after the procedure, then seemed to bounce back quite nicely. Dad had pain from the healing bones for a while. And my friend Bob could not really do things like ride motorcycles and accelerate hard without hurting his chest, for about 12 months. After a year or so, that was pretty much gone, I'm not at all sure there was much in the way of lingering effects.


Both went on to live many more years.

Strangely, I don't have any calcification in my heart arteries, with a Calcium Score of 0. I take K2-mk7 and non essential aminos which do dilate vessels, along with aspirin.
 
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Upstate NY
I do know that about 35 years ago my grandfather had a quadruple bypass, and he was back smoking and playing golf a month later. He was a doctor so of course he was the worst patient in the world. He lived 38 more years and passed at 92..

Again, 35 years ago, things have changed so much for the better.
 
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Los Gatos, CA
My Dad had a quad bypass; he was up in his hospital chair early the next morning enjoying his breakfast.
He lived 20 or 30 more years and passed at 95.

While I cannot speak from my own experience, I have heard many people, including my father, speak very highly of the procedure.
Good luck and trust in your surgeon.
 
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You'd be surprised how fast they get you up and moving. My mom had 5 way bypass. 4 days after she was walking down the hall. This was in 2003. back then they would cut your let from groin to ankle to get a vein for the bypass. That took the longest to heal on my mom. Her check was fine but that "daym zipper" itches and burns to this day. BUT she was going into cardiac arrest rolling into the OR. She had a second heart attack thanksgiving 2021 and that same heart with the 20 year old bypasses is still up and walking around better than most 80 year olds.
 
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My grandmother had it twice. I swear she was up and running the very second she came home. She was tough!
 

Zee09

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I would not consider anything but minimally invasive surgery...period.
If your hospital doesn't offer it go elsewhere.
 
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The best answer is to talk to a cardiothoracic surgeon. He or she can describe the process and the procedure. A lot of factors determine what has to be done.

If you are in good shape physically besides the heart and have no other medical conditions then your recovery will be faster in general.
 
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no experience BUT there are surely a LOT of variables!! many nutritional people note a lot can be done with lo carb eating to improve your circulation + the CAC scan is the gold standard in europe BUT since its lower profit more costly procedures are done in USA where $$$$ drives everything. its also said that controlling insulin is key which lo carb does well. everyone wants a magic bullet -pill or surgery but if needed i would surely learn to eat correctly which FEW people do. i am decently healthy + eat fairly clean but could improve if necessary at 73 YO + recently dropped my rising BP from the 170's to 128/84 last visit A1C was 5.3 proper eating + fasting works! 2 meals a day + NOTHING between that spikes insulin, food or drink!!
 

Zee09

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I have had many issues in my life and many surgeries and scars. Been shot and stabbed and hit in the head with a pistol repeatedly and won the battle.

But when I think of pain I remember being in recovery for heart surgery and feeling the worst pain ever. I could not see anything but darkness and i heard the nurse frantically saying that I was already breathing on my own while being still hooked up on the heart and lung machine aka. Ventilator as she said and until I got unhooked it was the worst rippling and crushing pain that you never want to experience.

I think some here are mixing up stents with open heart surgery. They tried stents on me but was a no go.
Stents are a walk in the park.

I remember my elderly mom came home the same day and they told her don't lift anything over 35 pounds and the next day she could resume normal activities.

Catherization to me was like a light teeth cleaning ordeal at the dentist.
I wish everybody could be so lucky not to have issues but if you have to stents are a godsend.
..
Beware if you had varicose veins stripped out like I did they have a hard time finding what you require for the surgery...i had mine stripped out in my 20's...had to.

The absolute worst thing is I left the hospital a few days early because I about lost my mind.

I was on the move 24/7 and I operated then on about 3 hrs sleep at night.

Then I am bedridden for many days with double blood pressure straps...legs wrapped up to stop blood clots..iv tubes..chest tubes..oxygen censors..shunt in my neck.. Catheter and so on.

That about did me in...the older you are the better it is. If you could kick back and just let it happen that is the way to go through it. I fought it to the end and that makes it horrible...

I know several cardiologist that had it done and they all say just let me die next time. You can even see YouTube docs say the same...
 
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But when I think of pain I remember being in recovery for heart surgery and feeling the worst pain ever. I could not see anything but darkness and i heard the nurse frantically saying that I was already breathing on my own while being still hooked up on the heart and lung machine aka. Ventilator as she said and until I got unhooked it was the worst rippling and crushing pain that you never want to experience.


Ventilator patients are usually on Propofol or Precedex drips to keep them out until the tube comes out. Morphine or Dilaudid helps with the pain.
 

Zee09

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Ventilator patients are usually on Propofol or Precedex drips to keep them out until the tube comes out. Morphine or Dilaudid helps with the pain.
I had morphine before but I refuse it whenever I can. I hate the feeling of it as it comes over you in waves like it takes you over. I don't like drugs or drink so that feeling is not something I like. I guess my nurse missed the boat on this deal. That pain is ingrained in my head...horrible.
 
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Morphine is nothing now Fentanyl is 50X more powerful. They don't even have to get it dripping good before you are ouwt.
 

OVERKILL

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No experience with a bypass, but I just had a double valve replacement the end of November and I was out of the hospital in 5 days but I've been taking it easy, though I'm back to working the last couple of weeks now (onsite, I've been working remotely since I got home in a limited capacity to keep stress, and blood pressure, down).

The chest discomfort where they cut the sternum for me, wasn't bad, it just felt "heavy". I wasn't on anything more than Tylenol after the surgery for the pain. The chest is sensitive for quite a while. I was told it takes three months to fully heal, I'm now four months and would say it is definitely fully healed, as I can sleep on my stomach if I want to and it no longer produces discomfort, whereas, laying any way that wasn't on my back was uncomfortable for quite a while.

I don't know if they flatten your lungs for the bypass or not, but if they do, getting your lung capacity back is also a time consuming process, and part of the recovery.
 

Zee09

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No experience with a bypass, but I just had a double valve replacement the end of November and I was out of the hospital in 5 days but I've been taking it easy, though I'm back to working the last couple of weeks now (onsite, I've been working remotely since I got home in a limited capacity to keep stress, and blood pressure, down).

The chest discomfort where they cut the sternum for me, wasn't bad, it just felt "heavy". I wasn't on anything more than Tylenol after the surgery for the pain. The chest is sensitive for quite a while. I was told it takes three months to fully heal, I'm now four months and would say it is definitely fully healed, as I can sleep on my stomach if I want to and it no longer produces discomfort, whereas, laying any way that wasn't on my back was uncomfortable for quite a while.

I don't know if they flatten your lungs for the bypass or not, but if they do, getting your lung capacity back is also a time consuming process, and part of the recovery.
Show me yours...lol
I had a Xmas card made with my split open chest for my female cousins...lol

Those open nerves on that scar...
I walked around for 3 weeks holding my shirt off my skin when I walked around. Did you get the full bypass scars with pump scars???

If I can't get robotic or minimally invasive next time..let me die...
I am not interested in docs or surgery..done..
 
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