Hi George. I had double bypass in August 2009. This was to unblock the LAD for the third time (it had been stented twice, and a third stenting was not an option) and another smaller artery. The clogged arteries were due to being fat/obese/morbidly obese from the time I was 22 (1981) until I had Lap-Band weight loss surgery in 2007. Like Ronnie indicated, we should all be thankful for the 2nd chance at life. Although I have a lot to be thankful for with the double bypass, the Lap-Band really saved my life, because when I went into the OR for the heart surgery, if I had still weighed 300+ pounds, I'm not sure I'd have come off the operating table alive. Instead I was 165 pounds when I had the surgery, only stayed in the hospital for 3 days post-op, and ran a half-marathon (painfully, as my ribcage had not yet fully healed yet) 2 weeks after the surgery.
As to what to expect / pain, etc... long term? I can't speak for the valve replacement because that is a defect (as opposed to a clog, which is not necessarily a genetic defect), but as far as the bypass goes ... I guess we all have the expectation that nothing else will happen. That said, the heart is still a muscle with a whole lot of other arteries attached to it and as I've learned from friends much older than I am (I'm about to turn 53), even with their double-, triple-, and quadruple bypasses ... even with healthy eating and living ... arteries still get clogged. So what to expect? Expect to be a good post-op patient: report even the slightest pains or shortness of breath, make your annual (or bi-annual) checkup and stress test, and stay on top of it. I admit to having my occassional indulgence in fattier foods than I should; but I also do about 2 hours of cardio every day and strength training 3x a week. I drink alcohol. In moderation, it's supposed to be helpful; in excess, obviously not so much.
It's really just about being diligent. It totally sucks when we have to undergo it, but having undergone it, it would be wasteful if we do no do most of the things we're supposed to do to keep our hearts healthy most of the time. The occassional indulgence never killed anyone. Consistently indulging in bad behaviors will.
That said, the only complaint I still have is that when they put my ribcage back together they didn't do a great job. I do have a small hernia in my chest wall which doesn't bother me but does look occassionaly like my heart my actually jump out of my chest. Mostly its that the ribs don't feel like a smooth set of ribs - the ones at the very top seem to stick out more than they did, and the zyphoid (xyphoid) process (sp?), the cartilage-y part of the bottom of the sternum that you're supposed to look for when doing CPR on someone - they seemed to have removed that completely from me. LOL - I hope I never need CPR around amateur good samaritans - I don't think they'd be able to find the proper point to do the compressions :-)
"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!"
"Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels."
My key to success: Follow *most* of the guidelines, *most* of the time.
| current weight: 197.4