Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: The Recovery Process
Each person's recovery from
coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is a
little different. Your road to recovery has many steps, including time in the
hospital, time at home, and participation in a rehabilitation program.
You will hear a common theme during your recovery: Everyone heals at
a different pace. Recovery from CABG surgery is a long process. And your
experience may be a little different than the typical course discussed
After your CABG surgery, you will still be unconscious, or asleep.
You will probably be taken to the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) or
surgical ICU before you wake up. This unit has specially trained hospital staff
that will watch your condition very closely.
When you no longer need to be watched so closely, you will be moved to
another area of the hospital called a step-down unit or cardiac recovery
You will recover in the step-down unit of the hospital until your
doctors feel it is safe for you to go home. You must demonstrate that you are
capable of performing basic daily activities like walking and sitting upright.
Staff in the step-down unit will also help you begin your rehabilitation and
educate you on how to take care of yourself when you return home.
You may return home a few days after your CABG surgery. But it
may take several months before you can return to all of the activities you
enjoyed prior to surgery. Your doctor will help you plan your recovery and will
also tell you what activities you can and cannot do during your recovery.
Recovery from major surgery has both physical and emotional aspects.
How fast you recover physically will depend on your health before CABG surgery.
You will probably have some pain. You may also feel frustrated, angry, or
lonely. It is important that you have emotional support from friends, family,
and medical staff during your recovery.
There are several things you have to do while you are recovering
from CABG surgery, including:
Ways you can keep your heart and body healthy include:
You can benefit from both medical support and emotional support to help you make important changes in your
lifestyle. Your doctors, nurses, rehabilitation team members, friends, and
family can help you.
These lifestyle changes that you make after your CABG surgery will
benefit you for the rest of your life.
Other Works Consulted
Morris DC, et al. (2011). Management of the patient after cardiac surgery. In V Fuster et al., eds., Hurst’s The Heart, 13th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1504–1512. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.