What is the typical lifetime post CABG?
Q: I am 46 years old with normal sugar levels and blood pressure. I underwent bypass surgery (CABG) 8 weeks ago. I had a total cholesterol level of 240, which has now reduced to 150 and the good cholesterol is above 45. I am improving everyday but have a few queries. What is the typical lifetime post CABG assuming the lifestyle changes are effectively followed (I have heard that 10 years is the average)? Does it mean that I can hope to live for 10 years without any problems? My left knee is still sore due to the surgery, though there is no discharge or swelling. The soreness is prompting me to limp and hence I am avoiding my walks and exercises, which I understand are important. Is it alright to postpone exercises for a couple of weeks? I am trying to be as active as possible like walk around as much while shopping.
A:Congratulations on your successful surgery. The answers to your queries are: 1. The typical life time, post CABG, depends on multiple factors including the type of conduits used during the surgery, the risk factors that an individual has, the extensiveness of the atherosclerotic process in the body, how good one looks after oneself after the surgery etc. It is not that ten years is a maximum after bypass surgery. People have had 20-30 years after a bypass surgery without any problems whatsoever. However, as the disease process is not curative, there is always a chance of recurrence of the disease and one does enter into a grey zone at about 10 years, when the graft attrition will start. I think, you should not worry about the life of the bypass surgery but just take care of the risk factors that you have and be happy and I am sure, you would get good long-term results. 2. Knee joint has nothing to do with this surgery. However, if the vein has been harvested, then certainly there will be an incision across the joint line and that may stretch during walk and give you little pain. However, it is extremely important that you start walking and gradually increase the distance that you walking and maybe take some pain killers for the knee pain. 3. I don't think it is fair to postpone walking as exercises; and walking during shopping for example is certainly not adequate. Therefore, one should walk at least 20-30 minutes every day, over and above, whatever walking is involved in shopping or in day-to-day chores.