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Learning about Bypass Heart Surgery

Updated on August 9, 2018

Model of a heart

A model of our heart
A model of our heart | Source

How my Dad came to have a CABG heart surgery operation

My dad had a triple bypass heart surgery in December 2010 at the age of 85, we are blessed that all is still well. A few years earlier he had an angiogram, where they insert the balloon he was still not better. The week before the CABG heart surgery operation, he had another angiogram. It was during this operation that they decided that he would had no choice other than have to face up to having a major heart attack at any moment.

Definition of what CABG stands for: coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

The heart surgeon explaining to me what it was about:

I actually never registered that this was something major, if you think back to when Dr Christiaan Barnard did the first open heart surgery in Cape Town at Groote Schuur. Only afterwards did it register that this was something major if you relate it to those days, nowadays they do these operations daily.

I had to go in to see the heart surgeon, my brothers, sister were not available, busy with work related, so it all rested on my shoulders. Anyway the heart surgeon showed me a model of a heart and then preceded to explain first that my dad had to really have it to make is life easier.

How he explained it to me was using the terminology if you think of the slipways (bypass) to go off a freeway or to enter the freeway being like all the arteries flowing in your heart. If you think of where the arteries are too narrow for the blood to flow through, they would then graft on veins from his legs and make like a slipway, where the blood flows into the bypass around the narrowed artery then back into the normal artery and so it goes, my dad had a triple one.

Heart Bypass Surgery CABG video

The CABG bypass heart surgery and the complications heart surgery

My Dad had to go in the night before, they did triple bypass heart surgery the next morning. My mom and I went to see him that afternoon in the ICU, scary to see the life support machine and all the tubes in and out of the body.

That night they phoned to say that I needed to come through now there were complications after the heart surgery, my dad was bleeding. A young male nurse had spotted it luckily, the heart surgeon said a tube was chafing.

The heart surgeons had to open my dad up again, the procedure heart surgery where they had already cut the chest bone and staple you up, they also use beeswax. We got there while my dad was in the theater; the surgeons came to see us afterwards. The one said my dad’s arteries were like eggshells cracking, while they were grafting.

They also said that if they had not caught it my dad would not have been there in the morning.

I got to say when I got that call, I had the strangest reaction, I said to the sister what you mean I have to come now, and we stay about ¾ of an hour away from the hospital. I guess we all react different at such moments. All I can say is thank God for the young male nurse noticing my dad was bleeding.

CABG Heart Surgery recovery, home recovery, wound care

My dad was in ICU for longer 11 days in total, it took longer because of the heart surgery complications. We all took turns my mom and I going to visit in the day, my brothers, sisters at night. I would take video clips of my Senegal Parrot Sydney on my mobile phone for my dad. Seeing the parrot was the only time you got much of recognition from my dad, he almost smiled, kept him going.

My dad had to have lots of pillows always behind him in a chair or on the bed. The first few days were quite hard, getting him out the bed, it was hard to walk, he did have a couple of days in hospital physio, and we had to take his walking stick. He also kept thinking he had pains in the chest but it was winds, I got him some of that gripe water for babies, it did the trick.

My dad had to go to the surgery for wound care for the chest and legs every two days. I got quite organized getting the wheelchair then put my dad in it and go park the car. I was very impressed with the nursing staff and all the wound care, especially a male nurse who had to take out all the hundreds of stitches out of the legs and chest. It was like staples on the legs, his scars have almost all gone, faded a lot now a year and 3 months down the line.

He still can’t walk long distances and he tires, but he is still active around the garden and keeps himself busy.

I have done this hub as I know I googled trying to find out information about CABG heart surgery.

Comments on this procedure

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    • roc6 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks You Sueswan, the whole family are very grateful.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Roc6

      So glad your dad pulled through triple bypass heart surgery.

      The video is very helpful. Thank you for sharing.

      Voted up and awesome.

      Take care :)

    • roc6 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank You Vinaya Ghimire, I was in the same boat, no clue really, felt a bit stupid as the surgeon was explaining.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      Recently one of my relatives had open heart surgery. I did not know how open heart surgery was done until I saw the video the hospital gave to us.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.


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