Patient Comments: Coronary Artery Bypass Graft - Experience

Question:

Please describe your experience with coronary artery bypass graft. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Johntb, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 15

I was 39 and misdiagnosed by my doctor. He actually said to get on a treadmill and start working out. Even after I told him my family history and my symptoms (shortness of breath, tingling in my hands and feet, out of control diabetes). I asked if his malpractice was paid up because if I die my wife and kids were going to be rich. Surgeon and team who did the coronary artery bypass graft were great (different doctor). Anyway I was told I would feel great and like a new man. Yeah, that never happened and thanks to Obamacare my wife lost our benefits and I had to get them at my work. It cost her USD 200/month. It now costs me USD 200/ week. Needless to say money is tight and I still feel awful (7 years later. Oh, and I had another massive heart attack this year. Now I have congestive heart failure. Wished I never did it and just lived out my days and never went through all the pain. I can honestly say I felt better before the surgery. That was just my experience and much more involved than this. I have spoken to a few other people who had similar experiences about feeling better before the surgery and never feeling the same again. I really do wish I died so as to not continue with this pain.

Comment from: Jim, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: April 19

I have been unable to walk without a cane or walker since my triple coronary artery bypass graft 2 years ago. I have had physiotherapy and acupuncture during that time with little change. I walked into that hospital but was not able to walk out on my own. Any similar experiences, I would love to hear. I'm an 82 year old male in good health otherwise.

Comment from: Coolbreeze, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 22

I had the coronary artery bypass graft surgery ten years ago in 2005. I was found to need it after having an EKG test pre-surgery for a herniated navel. I was told I had had a heart attack but I never felt a thing. Silent ischemia I am told. Surgery went well, I was home in five days and back to work in six weeks. By the way, it was a double bypass using the mammary artery. I have had no problems since then.

Comment from: D, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 10

I am a 59 year old female and had a heart attack 9 months ago. I had a triple bypass 2 weeks later and left the hospital 4 days after surgery. I had no prior symptoms and my cholesterol was within normal parameters. I was not on any medications other than a pill for a stomach ulcer. I've been told my recovery has been normal but I still am extremely sensitive on my incision area and some days it's really bothersome. Crazy after all this time. I even still get stabbing pain in my leg where they took a graft. I also experienced some form of depression for the first few weeks although nothing I was medicated for. I think it was based out of betrayal of what I felt my body 'did' to me and fear of what I went through and what can happen again. I still feel fear of something recurring when previous to the event, I always believed I would live a long and reasonably healthy life; now I am just not that confident. This has been a long process and I only hope that one day I may feel my normal self again; or perhaps this is my new normal from here on in.

Comment from: Ken, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: December 29

I had my 1st heart attack at age 43 (1988). I had innumerable angioplasties, emergency room (ER) trips, and stents. I had 4 way coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) at age 54 (1999) at a world famous hospital. It solved heart problems for years, but caused cognitive impairment so bad I had to go on Social Security Disability. My brain gradually rewired itself over a ten-year period. After 15 years (2014), grafts and veins began to disintegrate. Another heart attack, trips to ER, and 8 stents. I'm scheduled for CABG redo next week (January 2016). Hope my brain can take it.

Comment from: sandit, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 16

I had a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) on December 31st 2015. I'm home for the 7th week and have similar experience as some others who have posted here. Sneeze or cough and your sternum feels like a knife is being driven into it.

Comment from: Kimba, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 13

I had 5 bypasses in July 2014. I was 10 hours on the table due to graft failing but survived. I was doing great for 5 months (till December) and it now appears that one of the grafts has failed again. I have shortness of breath without too much effort but I still try to walk 60 minutes every day, just at a slower pace. Cardiologist says to wait for a few months and see what happens, they may be able to stent it but the failed graft is where it is connected to the heart, so not good, hoping that it will repair itself. I am not sure that I trust the cardiologist much, he doesn't say much unless you push for information. I am getting a second opinion in April.

Comment from: Bien, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 02

My coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) was in 2004, I had quadruple bypass and I have one that failed and rerouted by itself. My arteries where removed from my right arm. I've been in the hospital 3 times because of me thinking a heart attack was imminent and had angioplasty each time and was given a clean bill of health. Fear plays a huge part in any healing. I have shooting sting pains in my left side by my shoulder to the breast. I added nitro to my other meds that include metoprolol, Norvasc, lisinopril, and simvastatin, plus aspirin. I work but am wondering how much stress I can take. Sleeping pills and anxiety drugs only hurt but might work short time. Good Luck.

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Comment from: steve m, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 20

I had progressive symptoms for three months. It started when on treadmill and it was a tightness in my throat. I used to have asthma so I thought it was that. I slowed down a bit and it went away. Then I finished running and exercising. It was on going. Then it happened a few times when I was having relations with my girlfriend. It got worse the last time and I had to leave the room and sit and let it pass. Then I had it after walking ten minutes and even brushing my teeth. By then I was having the jaw and wrist pains as well. Stress test was strongly positive within minutes. I was unstentable, blockages too long. I bit the bullet and went right in for coronary artery bypass graft. I am 54 years old and always healthy.

Comment from: ewok, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 08

I had triple bypass in November 2013. The surgery was successful. I am fortunate to have had such a good team of doctors and nurses. When I woke up with the breathing tube I was not happy! Thankfully I came out soon and it all now seems like a dream. I am grateful for the lifesaving surgery after 3 heart attacks and 4 stents. I still had major blockages and had to have the surgery. I am hopeful for a long life.

Comment from: bladerunner, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 08

I had been experiencing tightness in my throat and pressure in my chest for several months during exercise. Cardiac artery disease runs in my family. I had been taking statins and seeing a physician every 6 months for 10 years. At my next appointment my doctor sent me for a stress test which I failed badly. I went for catheterization, where I hoped to have a stent or two inserted. I had two blockages: one 90% and the other 100%. I had CABG (coronary artery bypass graft) surgery the following day. Much like everyone else, I felt like I had been run over by truck. I was one day in ICU, 4 days in the hospital. Started walking 2 days after surgery. I started cardio rehab 5 weeks later for 12 weeks 3 times a week and felt better each day. Chest is still a little sore and sensitive to cold after 4 1/2 months. I haven't felt this good in about 4 or 5 years. Cardio rehab was the best and is must do. It only works if you do the work. Many thanks to my family and friends, I had great support group.

Comment from: 3xcabg, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 17

A year ago in March, I had what I thought would be a routine follow-up to a cardiac stress test. I wasn't able to get my heart rate high enough, so I had to use the chemical stress test. The doctor said something didn't look right with the stress test, so it was followed up with cardiac catheterization. During the cardiac catheterization, several blockages of 80 to 90% were discovered; this was on a Friday. Since I had tried Plavix and couldn't tolerate it, stents were not an option. (Also I am a type 2 diabetic.) I had triple bypass surgery the next Monday. They managed any pain I might have been experiencing very well. I did experience nausea for several weeks after the surgery and was on an anti-nausea agent. I followed up the surgery with cardiac rehab therapy three times a week for 12 weeks. I still sometimes experience a greater sensitivity to cold. Other than that, most things are back to normal, and I exercise several times a week. I just concluded a one-year follow-up stress test, which I passed with flying colors.

Comment from: Grateful Alive, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 09

I had a quadruple coronary artery bypass graft at age 36. I was totally asymptomatic. Thanks to a very alert physician, I was able to avoid a heart attack. Surgery itself was a great success, with outstanding care at the hospital. The post-operation period was very critical both mentally and physically. The pain during that time was unbearable. I had constant mood swings and despair. It took a while to get through it all, with great support and understanding from family. I feel very good now with a strict diet, exercising, and avoiding people who cause me stress. I have multiple medications and regular follow-ups with my cardiologist as well as an annual nuclear stress test.

Comment from: H, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 11

I had 4 coronary artery bypass grafts (CABG) in 1997 and again in 2012. After all these years my sternum still hurts when I take a deep breath.

Comment from: Lucky Richard, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 14

I had quadruple bypass eight days ago. My body was strong and fit but the coronary arteries were clogged. I have made swift progress since and my vitals are all good. I walk some every day and get out in the sunshine. I know the chest pain will go away but worry a little about the ribs. My diet was good before but my intent is to make it excellent and hope to get back to running some.

Comment from: 4 in play, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 16

I am diabetic and happy with the results of coronary artery bypass graft, but I am not even close to healing in 6 weeks. In fact it is going on 10 months and the rib is very painful and still moves a lot.

Comment from: Larryob10, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 08

I had emergency CABG (coronary artery bypass graft) in 1991. I had congenitally small artery. I was athletic and well-muscled and post-surgery pain was intense. They said big strong guys suffer a lot more. Plus I think they used bigger chain saws 22 years ago. I had 4 stents in the mammary artery that was the bypass. Warranty had probably expired on that. It is good to go for another 22 and that works for me.

Comment from: revyman, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 05

I had a quadruple bypass on the 5th of March of this year and all seemed to be well. After a week or so I was released from the hospital and was glad to be home. As the days went on i was feeling that something was not right. I was always getting nose bleeds that required a visit to the local hospital to solve and as well as the days went on it seemed that I was feeling much worse rather than better. After another x-ray it was found that all the wires used to sew the sternum had broken and another surgery was required. Another three weeks in the hospital and I am home again. Just goes to show that it is not always as easy as they say it is all the time. After a total of 9-10 total hours under the knife things have been taking a long time to get back to normal. Taste and smell seemed to change and even something as tasty as milk did not taste good at all for a few weeks. It has been three weeks since the last surgery and things seem to be on the mend now. A word of caution! Do not under any circumstances over exert yourself when you get home. Take it real easy and do the heart rehab program for sure. We don't seem to be able to determine exactly why all the wires broke, but I tell you I would not wish this on any man that walked the face of this earth.

Comment from: Lost, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: May 13

My Mother was 80 years old. She survived the CABG surgery, 24 hours later was alert and tolerating commands, responding to family, then the next time around the 33rd hour she took a turn for the worse. As a family we have had our Mom ripped away from us. I do believe in the outstanding medical marvels in today’s era; with a word of caution, read and ask questions of your Doctor about everything you can think of. Ask if alternatives are available even if the procedure is an emergency. This will be a life changing event. Hopefully a positive one for the majority, but like my Mother who I believe was/is in the minority it is better to know all that is available to you. My Mother loved life and had a very positive attitude. She was very independent and in moderately fair condition, before surgery. She had all the "old age" conditions that one would have but she tolerated all very well. I wish things could have been different.

Comment from: BillT, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 24

In spite of being in good physical condition, I reported to an emergency room on December 30, 2008 with severe chest pain. I was discharged a day later after a PET scan assured us there was a low risk of heart disease. Unstable angina continued, so I changed hospitals and doctors. I had an arteriogram performed January 22, 2009 and triple bypass the next day. I was home after four days. I went back the second day for an ablation to treat an atrial flutter. I returned to work after two weeks, and flew to a distant city on business February 18 with no problems other than requiring frequent rest during the trip. I’m eight weeks from surgery, and I still require lots of sleep. It was a mistake trying normal sex at eight weeks, however. Other than chest muscles making a slow recovery and being sensitive to cold, life is normal and wonderful. I’m looking forward to working back up in weight lifting.

Comment from: Rob, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 19

I am a 40yr old male, with inherited heart disease, at age 35 I had my first problem with a DVT. 8 months later I experienced my first Angina attack. I underwent an Angiogram and had 2 Stents placed with Angioplasty. One year later I had a heart attack and 2 more stents placed. ( I now have 4), one year later I had another symptom of Angina underwent another Angiogram and had a heart attack during the procedure, was taken to ICU with a heart catheter left in my heart until I was able to undergo a 5 Bypass procedure. I was hospitalized with DVT in both legs 10 days post surgery. I am finally almost normal. I am concerned with how many years I will live before I must undergo another open heart procedure. I am an only child. All my mother's brothers have undergone heart attacks and Bypass surgery.

Comment from: ASK ME, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 16

I was scheduled for a cat scan in November. During my test my doctor found blockage and I was immediately prepared for surgery. I did fine during the surgery and I was released four days later. My home recovery as I look back was not as bad as it could have been except for the fact that the smell of food made me sick, nothing quenched my thirst and I felt like someone had left a 100 pound hand weight in my chest. When I first saw my swollen and discolored incision, the first thing that I said was there goes my low cut blouses. I am grateful for the support from my family. The incision is no longer swollen, but it is irritating when my clothes touch it and it often stings. I look at what my other options could have been and I am happy, scar and all. I am back at work, taking it easy and I have not had any complications. I go to cardiac rehab three times a week (Well not every week) and I am breathing and getting around much better. I thank God for all the fine heart surgeons in our country and I feel that I was given a second chance at life.

Comment from: Jazz, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 30

I had coronary artery bypass surgery graft in March of this year. The surgery went fine, and I was out of the ICU and on the floor at the end of day two. On day three, I was out of bed walking. My recovery appeared fine until late on the Friday night, I began having trouble breathing. By morning, I was in severe distress and went back to the ICU with my heart out of rhythm. I had an excellent team in the ICU who were prepped for my arrival. After two units of blood, lots of IVs and TLC, my heart flipped back into rhythm. This took just over four hours. I spent three days in the ICU. My recovery, once home, seemed to progress really well. By week 12, I thought I was ready for part-time work and cardio rehab. What a shock -- my heart went out of rhythm again. I returned to medication. I have since completed my cardio rehab and am now involved in a local fitness gym. I have been back to work full-time since September 1st and generally feel great. I am having some reactions to medications, but otherwise I am fine. The major surprises for me were: My outlook was great during my entire recovery, and my family was incredibly supportive during my hospital stay. Once I got home and carried my heart pillow, the sensitivity seemed to disappear.

Comment from: Jphillips604, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 30

With my coronary artery bypass graft I didn't have any chest pain, but I was tired a lot. When my internal medicine doctor noted my family history, he scheduled a stress test, a CT scan, and then an angiogram. Immediately during the angiogram, severe blockages were noted, and I never left the hospital. I had quintuple heart bypass the following day. After different bouts with blood pressure medications and problems with medications due to low heart rate, I appear to be somewhat stabilized except now I have angina all the time. When I get on the treadmill, after about twenty minutes, it all goes away. It has been three years and my incision is still sore. My doctor says that I will probably just have to learn to live with it. Now I find out I have prostate cancer. But you know what, lots of people have it a lot worse. There are lots of people who have gone through bypasses and prostate cancer and because of that, these procedures are taken for granted. Folks, none of these are a piece of cake, and don't always expect to end up just as you were before, just do the best you can.

Comment from: joppa, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 13

Dad just had coronary artery bypass graft 6 weeks ago and is always feeling the cold.

Comment from: bob, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 07

I had double coronary artery bypass on 1/22/15, not that long ago and everything is going pretty good now. I wonder if anyone else has pretty bad pain where they cut the breast bone, while laying on your side.

Comment from: andrew2, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 01

I had bypass 8 years ago, just had catheterization and all is clear.

Comment from: LH, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: August 20

My father had a quadruple bypass surgery just over two years ago. At that time he was 6'3" and 205lbs, with type 2 diabetes under control with pills. He also had some angina. When angina wasn't going away with nitro spray and meds he was sent for an angiogram to possibly get angioplasty at the same time. He came out with the news that he needs a quadruple bypass otherwise he will have a heart attack at any time. He followed all the doctor’s orders and got worse. He started showing signs of congestive heart failure.

Comment from: Milo, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 01

I am 72 years old ... Just had a triple by-pass procedure. Spent 3 nights in the hospital and now back home. No pain of any real consequence. Veins for the grafts were endoscopically removed. So little or no scarring, and no post-op,pain either. Piece of cake!

Comment from: mac, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 08

I had bypass surgery six months ago, and I am experiencing a lot of pain and tenderness mainly the left side of the chest/breast area and around into the back. I also had numbness and pain in the left leg where the vein was harvested. The cold weather affects me; it makes me short of breath.

Comment from: 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 17

I am a 62-year-old male and was training to run a marathon. I experienced shortness of breath but found I could run through it after 10 minutes or so. However, a few weeks ago, I could not run through it and decided to see a doctor. On Nov. 22, 2008, I had six coronary artery bypasses, all of which were 95% blocked. I feel very lucky that the training uncovered the problem. The operation went well, and I am recovering. Three weeks after surgery I still have a sore chest, but at least the Mack truck that was parked on me immediately after surgery has moved on! I experienced heightened sensitivity to cold and still get easily fatigued, but compared with the alternative, I feel great.

Comment from: Lerpo, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 30

Having never had any major medical problems, I decided to have a heart catheter on 10/23/08, due to another member of family having blockage. To my surprise and the doctor's, there was a 99% blockage on a vein. With that discovery, I was set up for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) the next morning. The vein was taken from the breast area, the sutures look and feel great. Within 30 hours of surgery I was up to bathroom and later in day (in stages) walked fifty laps on the medical floor. Four days after surgery I was home, which I enjoy. I do notice my feeling of getting cold is much pronounced, my durability/strength seems to be building slowly but surely. I am thankful for the support of the medical staff, my family, my friends and my religious ministers for their visits, their prayers and their encouragement. I know I may be one of the earliest CABG patients to comment, but this site is a great step in recovery - knowing what others have/are going through. Good health to all of you.

Comment from: hopeful, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 17

I am a 43 year old woman in great health. 3 1/2 weeks ago I experienced chest pain after running 4 miles. I waited an hour before my husband insisted on taking me to the hospital where they discovered that I had had a heart attack. I had a heart catheter where they found a 95% blockage of my left anterior descending artery. They could not get the stint through and wound up doing a bypass. The cardiac surgeon said that I had an artery dissection. The pain and nausea were intense the first few days. I was home after three days. I am getting better day by day. The emotional trauma has been hard to deal with. There is always a fear that something might happen again. The physical pain is so much better than it was initially. I finally have hope of having a normal life.

Comment from: clemtech, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: June 17

I had this surgery 3 weeks ago. I have had a wonderful recovery so far. I am 67 years old and am pretty good health otherwise. I started walking the day after surgery and have increased the distance each day. I am presently walking about 2 miles twice a day. I am on no heart medication except a statin drug for cholesterol my recovery has been great. I give all the credit to the wonderful doctors and staff at my local hospital.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

After returning from a vacation in late April I had found out that further testing was needed due to an abnormal stress test. My only symptom was a lot of jaw pain when I exerted myself. Whether it was walking up the stairs or talking too much. I also was very short of breath but that was always attributed to COPD. Needless to say I went thru a double CABG and every day feel better and better. I can't thank the health care profession enough for making the quality of my life better than I ever thought it could be.

Comment from: iaincwil, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 13

I had a heart attack followed by C.A.B.G.+4 which was fine for 2 months. I had no pains except from the wounds then on a walk one Saturday it struck me and I had no GNT spray as I hadn’t had to use it. Now I am getting pains more and more regular and being awakened during the night! I am getting a little scared that I will not wake up.

Comment from: karenmc, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 24

I had bypass surgery five months ago, and I am still experiencing a lot of pain in the bone and the incision. Sometimes it feels as if the incision is going to split wide open, and other times I think it is in the bone.

Comment from: BillG, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 16

I had a triple bypass in July. The only symptoms I had were acute shortness of breath and heavy sweating after walking up and down 2 flights of stairs. After stress tests and a cardiac catheter I was found to have a 100% blockage in my LAD and 2 other 80% blockages. I had surgery 5 days later. 5 days later I was home. I returned to work part time 9 weeks later and resumed full time hours after 12 weeks. Recovery went well until 6 months ago when I began experiencing pain, vertically on each side of the chest incision. Today the pain at night is about an 8. So far nothing has helped even though my primary care Doctor has tried several methods of treatment. My heart is fine according to my cardiologist.

Comment from: JJ, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 15

In 1997 I had 7 arteries replaced by vein graft. I had no heart damage or valve damage and have lived these last nearly 12 years (it was January 6, 1997) in very good health keeping my blood pressure down and cholesterol in decent shape, so it is possible to live a great life after a life threatening operation. I try to keep a good attitude which I think is important because I believe that stress in my job was the major cause in the first place.

Comment from: 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 19

I had a triple bypass 2 years ago and now 2 out of the three have failed and one major artery is now blocked. Is this normal?