Aftermath of a Heart Bypass Surgery: What to Expect

Heart Bypass SurgeryAfter undergoing heart bypass surgery, patients usually need six to eight weeks to fully recover and resume normal activities prior to the operation. Doctors often recommend post-surgery instructions after every discharge from the medical facility. These include managing pain, wound care, diet and restrictions on activities.

So, what can patients like you expect after the bypass surgery?

Physical Discomfort

Surgery involves more than the chest incision; it also affects the legs. Doctors often use the smaller veins as grafts, which leads to the patient’s discomfort. Your legs will be swollen for a time and might experience more pain than the chest area.

Walking and light daily activities should help relieve the discomfort and stiffness often felt by bypass patients. Your doctor will also recommend painkillers to help manage the stinging sensation.

Special Diet

Unless test results show that there are markers of other potential health conditions, doctors do not necessarily prescribe special diets for recovering heart bypass patients. In fact, healthy and balanced meals are preferred. Since appetite is poor, doctors recommend a small intake of food. Patients with vices (e.g. drinking and smoking) should undergo a lifestyle change to speed up recovery. If the patient is overweight, physicians offer diet plans to eliminate excess fats.


The attending cardiologist often recommends rehabilitation to help bypass patients recover quickly. Therapy and exercises are part of the rehabilitation program. These focus on stabilizing heart rate and blood pressure and dealing with anxiety or stress.

Activities Allowed

A bypass patient cannot go back to doing some of his regular activities prior to the surgery. Fortunately, he can gradually increase activities, like doing light household chores. Climbing stairs should be limited, as well as standing for extended periods. Physicians may limit physical exercise, too.

A caring environment focused on full and immediate recovery will help bypass patients recover quickly. By following doctor’s orders and having a strong will to heal, bypass patients can get on with their lives in no time.