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Heart bypass

(9 Posts)
blondegirl73 Mon 22-Jun-15 14:31:25

Hi all

Am hoping to make the most of the collective Mumsnet wisdom.

I've just found out my mum has to have a heart bypass. She went for an angiogram today and has been told she's got to stay in hospital and have it in four or five days' time.

It's quite a shock really as she's very active and healthy, eats well, does lots of exercise and only really had one day of chest pain that sent her to the GP. She's 68.

Just wondered if anyone can tell me what to expect and what her recovery will be like? Any experiences to share?

Thanks in advance.

WhetherOrNot Mon 22-Jun-15 22:19:50

Is it definitely a bypass.......or stents?

blondegirl73 Tue 23-Jun-15 09:06:06

Nope, it's definitely a bypass. My dad had a heart attack about 10 years ago and had a stent, so I'm quite au fait with those! Mum has lots of little blockages rather than one big one (apparently) so she needs a bypass. It's quite odd as she feels well at the moment but obviously will be pretty poorly after the op.

Hornydilemma Tue 23-Jun-15 09:19:12

My dad had one 10 yrs ago (triple) & is now fit as a fiddle - cycles everywhere, pitch & putt 3 times a week, he's now 70. Pain mgt afterwards is very good nowadays - he was only ever uncomfortable - except when he sneezed & had to holug s pillow to his chest! He was out of intensive care in less than 24 hrs - they told us 4-5 days - and walking round in 2 days. Best advice for her is to follow instructions carefully, & do all the rehab she can. The fact that she's in good shape beforehand will really stand to her.

The nurse said to my dad that these days it is not a v serious op if not done due to emergency - it's basically a plumbing job!

Best of luck to your mum, hope it all goes well.

sashh Tue 23-Jun-15 10:10:37

There are different amounts of actual 'bypass' the simplest is to take a vein in the chest that is a leftover from evolution but as one cardiac surgeon said, "looks like it has been left there just for us".

Other bypasses take veins, usually from the leg and graft them on to the coronary arteries, this is why you can get triple or quadruple bypass, it is the number of veins used.

From the perspective of the patient the only difference is whether they have an op on their leg at the same time as their heart, so obviously 2 sets of stitches.

There are some people doing keyhole type procedures but the majority are still done with an open chest, so she will have a 'zipper' scar from neck to abdomen. This is quite sore in the initial days because the surgeons cut the skin and flesh and then saw through the sternum, after the op it is put back together with wire then the flesh and skin sewn up.

In time this will fade to a narrow white line.

While she is unconscious she will be put 'on bypass', this means a machine will do the job of breathing and pumping blood while the surgeons operate.

It is often quite a long operation, not because it is complex just that actually getting to the heart and putting the chest back together can be quite difficult.

After the op she will be visited by physiotherapists who will be getting her to breath and to cough. As the chest is obviously sore the temptation is not to breath deeply which can cause fluid on the lungs.

Often the physios will get a patient to hug a pillow or put a wrap around them to cough, one patient I can across had a teddy someone had bought him that was exactly the right size. You might consider one as a present.

bypassrecovery Tue 23-Jun-15 14:47:39

I've namechanged for this so as not to connect my DH with my MN name.

Everything sashh said. The pillow reference made me smile, as all the heart patients at the hospital Dh went to get a heart-shaped pillow, signed by the nurses, to hug when they cough. Important when in a car, too. We still have it.

My DH, 56 at the time, had a quadruple bypass within days of indigestion-type pains. We are in Au but I expect the form is much the same in the UK.

DH was not let out until he was off oxycontin (hillbilly heroin) and could walk round the ward. They get them on their feet as soon as. It's all about off the drugs and on the feet. He was out 8 days after being admitted for an

At home I stayed off work for a week to tend. We are lucky and have bedrooms on the ground floor. Stairs are a no-no for some while. He was white as a sheet, lost muscle tone markedly and very cold. Make sure your mum's bed has plenty of throws, even in the summer.

DH had a set distance to walk each day, which he followed religiously. No driving for a set number of weeks.

Meals small and frequent.

Lots of hand washing and take care re dressings on the wounds.

Does your DM have a dog? Take care with first meetings to avoid jarring.

Your DM's hospital may offer rehab sessions which are also helpful. In terms of info, they didn't tell us anything we didn't know (not because they were low level, but we are well-read) but the camaraderie is very good. I went to every one. This is important, too.

I hope all goes well for your DM, blondegirl. thanks

WhetherOrNot Tue 23-Jun-15 15:54:47

When I had my triple by pass I was out of intensive care within 24 hours, and came home a week later. I felt like I'd been hit by a truck, tbh, but it was slow and steady progress from then on.

Be prepared for her to feel knackered just making a cuppa, but it rapidly gets better. I was also offered, and went to, rehab exercises once a week.

I hope all goes well.

hellomynameis Tue 23-Jun-15 16:02:11

It has become a 'routine' operation now which is amazing when you consider the complexity of it.

Patients generally go home within a week.

They come off intensive care after a day or two.

To 'feel' back to normal can take up to 6 months.

An operation is a huge 'insult' to the body and it takes time to recover.

Main thing is to follow the rehab programme and keep taking all the mess prescribed when you get home.

blondegirl73 Tue 23-Jun-15 16:22:52

Amazing. Thank you all so much.

She's actually being transferred today now instead of at the end of the week and they're saying they might get away with a stent instead of the bypass. Still waiting to hear but fingers crossed.

If she does have to have the bypass I feel much better having heard all your experiences. Apparently the doctor said her heart was very healthy apart from the small blockages (which I suspect are due to hereditary factors as her dad died in his 50s from a heart attack), so that's good news.

Thank you very much. You're all fabulous and I will keep you posted.

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