Heart Disease Home > Beating Heart Bypass Surgery Recovery

Beating heart bypass surgery recovery begins in the intensive care unit, where you are watched carefully. As you regain strength, the breathing tube and pacing wires (if used) are removed (usually within a few days). Upon leaving the hospital, you will be sent home with a detailed recovery plan, including medication, dietary information, and any restrictions related to beating heart bypass surgery recovery.

Beating Heart Bypass Surgery Recovery: Moving to the Intensive Care Unit

At the end of the beating heart bypass surgery, you will be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU.) Your healthcare team will closely watch after you and the other patients recovering here.
 
Your doctor will talk to your family or friends about the surgery, and they will be able to visit you in the ICU at scheduled times. Your visitors should be prepared to see you surrounded by monitors and tubes, and connected to special equipment.
 
When you wake up, you may feel some aches and pains in your chest and throat. Your nurse can give you medication to help with this.
 
You may still have a breathing tube in place after the beating heart bypass surgery. Some people find it a little strange to breathe with the tube in at first, but it usually feels more normal after doing it for a little while. The breathing tube will be taken out as soon as your healthcare team feels that you can breathe on your own. For most people, this happens on the same day as the surgery.
 
Once the breathing tube is taken out, you will probably start respiratory therapy. This includes doing breathing exercises to help your lungs stay healthy while you are in the hospital.
 
If pacing wires were put in your chest during the surgery, they will usually be taken out when your heart is beating normally again. However, some people might need to have a permanent pacemaker put in after the wires are removed.
 
You will probably be given medications and have tests done to see how you are doing. If your surgery and time in the ICU go well, most of the tubes and equipment will be removed within the first few days after your operation. This is approximately how long your stay in the ICU will be. However, it is possible that your stay may be longer, depending on your health, the outcome of your surgery, and your ability to recover.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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