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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.


Call 911 for any of the following:

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

  • You cough up blood.

  • You have a fast heartbeat that flutters.

  • You feel like you are going to faint.

Seek care immediately if:

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

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

  • You have a severe headache.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

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

  • You have gained 2 pounds in 24 hours.

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

  • Your signs and symptoms return.

  • You feel depressed.

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


You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask 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.

  • Cholesterol medicine helps lower cholesterol and lipid levels in your blood.

  • Antibiotics help prevent a bacterial infection.

  • Heart medicine helps strengthen and regulate your heartbeat.

  • Blood pressure medicine helps lower or control your blood pressure.

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

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider 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.

Go to 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. Healthcare providers will also check to make sure any medicines you take are working. The plan may also include instructions for when you can drive, return to work, and do other normal daily activities.

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. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about a heart healthy diet.

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

  • Do not smoke. Nicotine can damage your heart. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help you quit. They still contain nicotine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit.

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

Get a flu shot:

To prevent influenza (flu), all adults should get the influenza vaccine every year as soon as it becomes available.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

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

© 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.