What do I need to carry for post bypass surgery follow up?

A cardiac surgery, such as a cardiac bypass surgery, is perhaps the most serious, painful and perhaps even the most complex surgery that man has created. What it does is it aims to help restore blood flow to an area of the heart that previously had no blood flow in it. However, the surgery itself is not the difficult part. What comes afterwards is perhaps harder as there are a lot of procedures you need to follow up on. Here’s what is required after the cardiac surgery follow up at home…

  1. Clopidogrel

This is a type of antiplatelet medication. Its brand name is Plavix. This is used to help prevent the formation of blood clots. If a blood clot is formed, it can block the graft (the piece of tissue transplanted through the bypass so that blood can pass to the area of the heart it was not flowing). It can even block other arteries. Therefore, clopidogrel must be administered.

  1. Beta blockers

These are given so that the patient’s blood pressure and heart rate decrease. This will also reduce the amount of oxygen your blood needs. These are only given to some patients with certain problems. Contact your cardiologist before you take them but do keep them handy.

  1. Nitrates

These blood vessels dictate how the coronary arteries work. The nitrates can be in the form of either nitroglycerin or isosorbide mononitrate. What happens is that coronary arteries dilate due to the nitrates and these cause more blood to go to the heart. These are mostly given to cure or prevent chest pain. Once again, do not take them without talking to your cardiologist but do keep them handy in case they are needed.

  1. ACE inhibitor

ACE stands for angiotensin converting enzyme. This is crucial in treating high blood pressure. There are various types of drugs other than an ACE inhibitor, which can do exactly the same job including captopril, enalapril, lisinopril and ramipril. These also should not be taken without the cardiologist’s consent. These drugs are given when the patient cannot tolerate an ACE inhibitor for various reasons.

  1. Lipid lowering medication

There are many medications given which are crucial to lowering lipids including statins, ezetimibe, avasimibe and many more. The reason these are given is to lower the chances of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is when plaque builds up inside your arteries. Atherosclerosis can happen in both your graft vessel as well as your regular arteries.

  1. Other medications

A heart bypass surgery has a lot of other medications required as well depending on the condition of the patient. The possible reasons why other medications are needed after a heart bypass surgery include the development of an irregular heart, to manage the discomfort associated with the healing incisions and irregular bowel movements.

You have probably heard this many times before but it is impossible to overemphasize the importance of talking to your cardiologist and proceeding according to how he wants the patient treated.

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