Known as one of the most common yet serious heart surgeries in the world, coronary bypass surgery has earned the reputation of both saving and, when complications arise, ending lives. That is a really a bit morbid thought to have, but we have seen it on TV and research, that while some patients have undergone successful heart bypass surgeries, some of them would get complications during recovery that would cost them their lives. There are many factors that could affect your surgery, including the expertise of the doctor, the patients’ overall health status, medical equipment for bypass heart surgery, and more. So, people would think, how good is the life expectancy after heart bypass surgery?
What is heart bypass surgery?
Before we can discuss about how patients should see their life expectancy after heart bypass surgery, we should know why this risky operation is needed and what it does to the patient’s heart. Coronary artery bypass graft surgery, or CABG, is the medical term that doctors use for heart bypass surgery. It is performed on patients who have, upon examination of the heart through x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, etc. or after a heart attack, been found out to have arterial plaques that clog the major heart arteries. These arteries supply the oxygen-rich blood back to the heart, like any other parts of the body that need oxygen. It is vital then that the oxygenated blood these arteries carry to the heart be diverted to a passageway that is not blocked. This is where heart bypass surgery becomes necessary.
The surgeon performs the heart bypass surgery by removing the clogged part of the original coronary artery and replacing it with a blood vessel taken from the chest, leg, or arm of the patient. The number of grafts would depend on the number of arteries that have a blockage caused by cholesterol or fat.
Life expectancy after heart bypass surgery: The recovery
Coronary heart bypass graft surgery is a major heart operation, and the patient is expected to remain in the hospital for at least 7 days post-surgery. This is to monitor their vital signs and to see if the patient’s heart is receiving the grafts positively. Because patients have different abilities to recuperate and bounce back to normal, your hospital discharge would be based on your health improvement.
Once you get home, there will be very strict work and activity restrictions and limitations that would be expectedly set by your surgeon. With that said, there are several movements that you need to perform during the first few weeks because, like any other major operation, movement is still recommended to lower the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis or DVT. Gradually transitioning from being able to sit, then walk, then going up and down the stairs can start as soon as the first week is over. You are expected to be able to go back to the majority of your regular activities approximately 6 weeks after the surgery, which includes working, driving, and having sex. For a good number of heart bypass surgery patients, the report of patients making a full recovery at about 12 weeks post-op is common. And, believe it or not, the percentage of patients having complications from coronary heart bypass graft surgery has lessened to just barely 1% to 3%, when the expected mortality rate in the ‘60s was more than 9% of 150 patients. This finding gives the patients hope that life expectancy after heart bypass surgery can be better and brighter for them and their families.