We have already discussed a lot about CABG and how it is by-far the best option for a person suffering from heart disease. CABG is a life-saving surgery which restores health and offers the patient a chance to live a longer, better life. But don’t let the word surgery deter you. CABG is an extremely standardized and regular procedure and over the years, it has become extremely predictive in terms of its process, recovery and outcomes. In fact, should you be willing to check the statistics, then, you will find that when compared to any other major surgeries, CABG has the highest success rate!
Yes, the thought of a surgery may be daunting and it’s exactly this thinking, this fear of surgery that prevents many patients from undergoing this procedure, however durable and successful it may be. In fact, the best part about this surgery is that once the patient has recovered, he/she can lead a lifestyle similar to their previous lifestyle with some minor modifications that will only make everything better!
Few important facts of this surgery are:
- It is a very common and standard procedure.
- The patient is not aware of the surgery since it done under general anesthesia, which means there is absolutely nothing to worry about – the patient will not experience any pain during the surgery.
- The patient’s stay at the hospital will be very short. The patient needs to be admitted only one day prior to the surgery, – in fact he can start walking around the very next day after the surgery and within 4 or 5 days, when the patient is discharged, and he or she will be quite active.
- Patients can travel almost immediately after the surgery.
- There is no need for even a bed rest. The patient is just advised to take a break from work for 2 to 4 weeks, to aid the recovery and healing process.
- Taking care of the scar is very important. One just needs to have a bath regularly to keep the operated area clean. No dressings required.
- Life can go on as usual, with very few physical restrictions which do not cause any inconvenience.
Once CABG is done, it restores blood supply to the heart and allows it to function normally. Lifestyle modifications and controlling the risk factors like Diabetes, Obesity, High Cholesterol levels, total abstinence from tobacco etc., play an important role in the healing process along with medications which assist in the long term control of the disease. One needs to be physically active which goes a long way in not only controlling these risk factors, but also improving the health of the heart and the whole body in general.
Yes, patients who’ve undergone a CABG surgery need to pay special attention to their dietary habits and make some small adjustments, but it does not mean they need to lead the life of a hermit! They can continue enjoying some of their favorite foods in moderate quantities and with a bit of awareness and effort, they can enjoy delicious heart-healthy meals every day. One had to remember a basic fact that if one consumes food in excess of the daily requirements, even if it is healthy food, the additional calories will be converted and stored as fats. One needs to keep a watch on both what they eat and how much. For detailed info please see our earlier blogs here and here.
Some of the factors which cause heart diseases are High blood pressure, Diabetes, High Cholesterol and Obesity. Fortunately the best and easiest way to fight these culprits is exercising. Patients who have undergone CABG surgery are fairly active by the time they leave the hospital; hence there are no major restrictions for them where physical activity is concerned. They need to only make sure they do not drive or lift anything heavier than 5kg for the first three months post-surgery. This is only so the bone gets enough time to heal. Post that, they can continue with their regular fitness schedule. For more info check our previous blog here.
Most patients are sent back home after the surgery with prescriptions for several medications, which they need to continue taking for an extended period of time – either to accelerate the healing process or to keep in check the underlying causes of the heart disease. Some of the medications patients will be given are:
- Medications to control and reduce cholesterol
- Antiplatelet medications to prevent blood clots
- Medications to treat blood pressure and diabetes.
Smoking is one of the biggest contributors to heart diseases; hence it is essential, almost mandatory to quit smoking, if the patient does not wish to create blockages in the heart again. There are various methods of quitting, and even support groups are available to help quit this habit.
Controlling risk factors like diabetes, hypertension:
It is very important that patients keep diabetes and hypertension well under control. It may sound difficult to do so, but it isn’t! It should be encouraging for patients to know that this can be easily done through a combination of diet control, exercise and medications. The effort has to be consistent for the long term control of these diseases.
With proper counseling and guidance, patients can avoid the emotional turmoil they may face post-surgery. Most times, the psychological problems surface only because of fear and lack of knowledge. Once patients are made aware of the simplicity of this surgery and the fact that they will in fact be leading a healthier and better-enhanced life after the surgery, they tend to feel better about the whole process and jump back to their daily schedule much more easily.
The general impression people have about the heart is that it is a vital organ and hence cannot be operated on nor can it withstand the rigors of an operation. In fact, few years ago, people from the medical fraternity also thought the same, that the heart cannot be operated on! Another myth that surrounds heart operations is that post the operation a person cannot lead a normal life and will have to lead the life of an undisposed patient – which is not true! Medical science has come a long way and today heart operations are a routine and a standard procedure and are very successful. They play a major role in restoring a CAD patient’s life to normal.