Coronary artery bypass graft surgery is done using general anaesthetic
While you probably won’t have a choice of anaesthetist for your surgery, you may be able to plan the type of post-op pain relief that’ll suit you best.
The anaesthetist is responsible for pre-medication before the surgery, your anaesthesia and wellbeing during surgery, any blood transfusions you may need, and your post-operative pain relief.
Ask your surgeon if you can meet with the anaesthetist before the day of the procedure. This way you won’t be hurried or stressed, and can be involved in the planning.
You may be offered medication to prevent nausea, reduce stomach acid or help you relax. If you think you’ll be feeling anxious before surgery, ask if you can have something to relax you.
With general anaesthetic you’ll be unconscious for the procedure and a tube will be inserted into your throat to help you breathe. You may wake up with a sore throat from the tube. General anaesthetics occasionally cause post-operative nausea and vomiting.
Pain relief after surgery
After surgery you’ll be given pain relief prescribed by the anaesthetist. By enabling you to move and breathe without too much discomfort, good pain relief can help reduce the risk of complications.
Patient controlled analgesia (PCA) is often used in the first day or so. It's an opiate drug delivered through a cannula into a vein. You can control the amount of pain relief you receive by pressing a button.
Injections of pain relieving medication can be delivered by cannula or into a muscle.
Pills, tablets or liquids can be given at regular times, or when pain starts to bother you.
Print this page to take with you when you meet with the surgeon and anaesthetist, so you can make sure all your questions are answered.