Once your surgery is finished, the wound is dressed.
You‘ll be taken to the recovery room or straight into the intensive care ward. Some hospitals have a specialist coronary care unit. There, your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse and breathing) will be monitored to ensure they’re stable.
The procedure itself usually takes less than an hour, but the overall time in the operating theatre can be between 3 to 6 hours.
When you wake up, you’ll have tubes, wires and bandages attached to various parts of your body, including:
- A breathing tube (removed after surgery)
- A bladder catheter
- An IV line for fluid administration
- A chest drain to drain fluids around the heart (removed after 3 days)
- An ECG for continuous monitoring
- Pacing wires that attach your heart to a temporary pacemaker (removed after day 4)
- A swelling and compression bandage at the vein harvest site/s
- A tube above the collarbone that measures the pressures inside your heart
You’ll probably feel quite groggy for a while. This is a combination of the anaesthetic drugs and the analgesics given after surgery.
You'll be left with a long scar down the middle of your chest.
Your hospital stay
You’ll most likely stay in the intensive care unit for 1 or 2 days. Then you’ll be moved to another ward. Your condition will be monitored carefully until you’re ready to go home.
The average length of stay in hospital after coronary artery bypass surgery is 5 to 7 days.