Skip to Content

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft


A coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is open heart surgery to clear blocked arteries in your heart. CABG surgery improves blood flow to your heart by bypassing (sending blood around) the blocked part of an artery. This restores blood flow to your heart and helps prevent a heart attack.



You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your primary healthcare provider (PHP) how to take this medicine safely.

  • Antiplatelets , such as aspirin, help prevent blood clots. Take your antiplatelet medicine exactly as directed. These medicines make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. If you are told to take aspirin, do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.

  • Antibiotics help prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Heart medicine helps strengthen and regulate your heartbeat.

  • Stool softeners make it easier for you to have a bowel movement and help prevent constipation.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your PHP if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your PHP or cardiologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Cardiac rehabilitation:

Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is a program run by specialists who will help you safely strengthen your heart and prevent more heart disease. This plan includes exercise, relaxation, stress management, and heart-healthy nutrition. Caregivers will also check to make sure any medicines you are taking are working. The plan may also include instructions for when you can drive, return to work, and do other normal daily activities.

Wound care:

Care for your wound as directed. Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. If you do not have a bandage, gently pat the incision dry with a clean towel. If you have a bandage, dry the area and put on a new, clean bandage. Change your bandage if it gets wet or dirty.

Prevent another blocked artery:

  • Eat heart healthy foods. You may need to eat foods that are low in salt, fat, or cholesterol. Ask your PHP for more information about a heart healthy diet.

  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask your PHP how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids will help soften your bowel movements and prevent constipation.

  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking will damage your heart. Ask your PHP for information if you need help quitting.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your PHP how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight. Extra weight can increase the stress on your heart.

Contact your PHP or cardiologist if:

  • You have a fever higher than 101°F (38.4°C).

  • Your signs and symptoms return.

  • You have gained 2 pounds in 24 hours.

  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.

  • You feel depressed.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a severe headache.

  • You have a fast heartbeat that flutters.

  • You have numbness or tingling in your arms or legs.

  • You feel like you are going to faint.

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.

  • You cough up blood.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (Discharge Care)