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Cardiac Bypass Surgery

Cardiac Bypass Surgery: Preparing For Surgery

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 17:37

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Except in emergencies, patients and their doctors have time to prepare for bypass surgery. In addition to the various tests, you will have time to meet the surgical team and ask them questions about the procedure. If you wish, you will also be able to plan donations of your own blood, or have family members and friends donate blood for your use. If you do this, don't forget to let the doctors who see you know about it.

Here are some questions you may wish to ask your doctor before bypass surgery:

  • Why is this the best option for me?
  • Are there serious problems I might have during surgery, and what are my chances of having these problems?
  • Will I need more surgery in the future?

Admission To The Hospital

Blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG) and chest x-rays will usually be done before you come into the hospital or in some cases after you are admitted. It is usual to be admitted the evening before surgery. Increasingly, however, patients check in on the morning of surgery itself.

Visit By The Anesthesiologist

The cardiovascular anesthesiologist, a specialist who manages your sedatives and pain management during surgery, will talk to you before the procedure. This physician will ask about any anesthesia (medications to make procedures more comfortable) you have had in the past, and if there were any complications.

The anesthesiologist will want to know about your general medical history, including diseases, allergies, and medications, so that he or she can find the best method of minimizing your discomfort during and after surgery.

Visit By Your Surgeon

Before the operation, your cardiac surgeon will visit. The surgeon will already know you, but will ask more questions, and explain what to expect over the next few days. If you have last-minute questions, now is the time to ask them.

Pre-Op

You will be asked to take a shower using a special soap. If you have been admitted the night before surgery, you may be given a mild sedative to help you sleep. If this doesn't work, speak to the nurse. A good night's sleep before surgery is important.

Cardiac Bypass Surgery