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Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: When You Arrive at the Hospital

Topic Overview

What happens at the hospital before the CABG procedure begins?

You will typically check into the hospital the evening before or morning of your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedure for preoperative education. You will take a shower with antibacterial soap the night before surgery and will not be allowed anything to eat or drink after midnight.

Before your surgery, you will probably meet some of the members of the surgical team, including the anesthesiologist. Your anesthesiologist is responsible for giving you medicines to put you to sleep for your CABG surgery and control your pain both during and after your surgery. This doctor will explain the process of general anesthesia, make note of any allergies you might have to medicines, and prescribe a sedative to make you feel more comfortable and relaxed before the procedure begins.

In the preoperative area

Until your operating room is ready, you will remain in the preoperative, or pre-op, room. Your family and friends will probably be asked to remain in the waiting area. Usually your anesthesiologist or the anesthesiology assistant will then start one or more intravenous (IV) lines in your arm. You will be given saline fluid (to keep you hydrated), anesthesia, and other medicines through your IV line before, during, and after your surgery.

Preparation in the operating room

When your surgery team is ready, you will be transported on a bed with wheels from the holding area to the operating room. The staff will greet you and make sure that you are as comfortable as possible. Soon, you will receive general anesthesia through your IV line to put you to sleep. After you become unconscious, which happens quickly, a small tube called a Foley catheter will be placed through the opening of your penis or female urinary tract (urethra) and into your bladder. The free end of the catheter will then be hooked up to a plastic bag that will collect urine.

If your surgeon plans on using pieces of your leg veins to create the bypass grafts on your coronary arteries, your legs may be placed in a frog position, with the soles of your feet placed together and knees spread apart. Next, your chest, arms, and legs will be cleansed so that they are germ-free during the procedure. Usually a yellow-brown solution known as Betadine (povidone-iodine) is used to cleanse your body, as well as rubbing alcohol. Sterile drapes will be placed on the parts of your body that are not involved in the surgery.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Last Revised April 5, 2012

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