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Questions you may have after coronary artery bypass surgery

How soon may I start a Cardiac rehabilitation Program?

Most individuals start Cardiac rehabilitation 2 to 6 weeks after surgery. Ask your physician when you may begin to participate. Cardiac rehabilitation can facilitate your recovery and help to improve your overall health.

How much may I lift?

Although everyone heals at a different rate, it will take 6 weeks to several months for your wounds and breastbone to heal completely. Excessive movement or pressure from arm activity can interfere with the healing process. For 3 months, do not lift anything that weighs more than 5 to 10 pounds (a Gallon of water weighs approximately 8 pounds).

When may I drive?

The actions of driving a car can affect the healing of your breastbone and, additionally, the steering can increase your chest discomfort. It is advisable to let others drive until 6 weeks after surgery or until cleared by your own physician.

May I resume sexual relations?

It is always advisable to ask your physician regarding this question. You may resume sexual activity as early as 2 weeks if cleared by your physician and as soon as you feel comfortable. However, it is important to avoid positions that put weight on your breastbone and upper arms.

I hear a clicking in my breastbone…should I be concerned?

After bypass surgery, you may feel your breastbone move slightly and hear a clicking noise. It is important to avoid any activity that causes this. If it continues, contact your Cardiac surgeon so the healing of your breastbone can be evaluated.

Is it normal to feel depressed?

In the recovery period after any major surgery, it is very common to experience feelings of depression or mood swings. At times, you may feel very cheerful and confident. At other times, you may feel blue and begin to cry for no apparent reason. It may be difficult to concentrate, sleep, or enjoy previous interests. Seek support from your family, friends and personal physician. Talking with others may be beneficial. Being involved in the Cardiac Rehabilitation program can help you through this difficult time. Your physician should be aware of any prolonged mood problems after surgery.

Do I still need to take medications after bypass surgery?

Your physician will determine what medicines are necessary after your bypass surgery. Some medications may be long term and some may only be temporary. It is very important to take your medications as prescribed unless they are changed or discontinued by your physician. It is your responsibility to be sure that you do not run out of medication. You should notify your physician if you need medication refills or if you experience any medication side effects.