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Discharge Instructions for Minimally Invasive Coronary Bypass Surgery

You had minimally invasive coronary bypass surgery. This surgery created a new pathway around a blocked part of your heart’s blood vessels to let blood reach your heart muscle. An alternative to traditional open-heart surgery, this procedure lets your healthcare provider operate through a few small incisions, instead of cutting through your breastbone.

Before leaving the hospital, make sure you have a follow-up appointment scheduled. Be sure you understand your discharge instructions. It may help to make a list of questions during your hospital stay. It’s important to get all of your questions and concerns answered. Know how to reach your providers after hours and on weekends. Here’s what you need to know about home care. Your healthcare provider may give you additional instructions.


  • Don’t drive after your surgery until your healthcare provider gives you permission. Generally, you should wait at least 4 weeks until you drive.  Ask someone to take you to your appointments or wherever else you need to go.

  • Ask your healthcare provider how much weight you can lift. Some healthcare providers may ask you not to lift anything heavier than 5 pounds. Others may let you lift weight as you can tolerate. Using your arms to get out of bed and in a chair as you can tolerate is generally acceptable. Check with your provider about your situation.

  • Ask your healthcare provider when you can expect to return to work. The length of time you will be out of work will depend on the type of job you have.

  • Ask your healthcare provider when you can start a walking program:

    • If you haven’t already started a walking program in the hospital, start with short walks (about 5 minutes) at home. Go a little longer each day.

    • Choose a safe place with a level surface, such as a local park or mall.

    • Wear supportive shoes to prevent injury to the knees and ankles.

    • Walk with someone. It’s more fun and helps you keep up with your walking program.

    • Ask your healthcare provider about a cardiac rehab program. This is one of the best ways to help you get better after heart surgery.

    • Talk with your healthcare provider about when you can resume sex again, usually 2 to 4 weeks.

Other home care

  • When you shower, don't use very hot water. It could make you dizzy.

  • Clean your incisions every day with soap and water. Gently pat dry the area of the incisions. Don’t use any powders, lotions, or oils on your incisions until they are healed. If there are any steri-strips still attached to your incision, you can remove them if they don't fall off after 7 days.

  • Weigh yourself every day. Do this at the same time of day and in the same kind of clothes.

  • Take your medicines exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses.

  • Go to all your follow-up visits with your healthcare providers.

Lifestyle changes

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Get help to lose any extra pounds.

  • Follow all treatment plans for any other medical problems you may have.

  • Cut back on salt.

    • Limit canned, dried, packaged, and fast foods.

    • Don’t add salt to your food at the table.

    • Season foods with herbs instead of salt when you cook.

  • Break the smoking habit. Enroll in a stop-smoking program to improve your chances of success.

  • Cut back on fatty foods. Try to stay away from fatty foods, especially those containing saturated and trans fats. Choose lean meats and fish.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as advised by your healthcare provider

  • Signs of infection (redness, swelling, drainage, or warmth) at or near your incision sites

  • Weight gain of more than 3 pounds in 24 hours or more than 5 pounds in 1 week 

  • Swelling in your hands, feet, or ankles

  • Pain at the incision site that's not relieved with medicine

  • Changes in the location, type, or severity of pain

Call 911

Call 911 if any of the following occur:

  • New, or unusual, shortness of breath

  • New, or unusual, chest pain or a return of the symptoms you had before your surgery

  • Sudden severe headache

  • Coughing up blood

  • Dizziness that doesn't go away if you sit down

  • Fainting

  • Weakness in an extremity that doesn't go away

  • Droopiness in the face

  • Fast, unusually slow, or irregular pulse

  • Tingling, twitching, numbness, or coldness in your arms or legs

Online Medical Reviewer: Mary Mancini MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ronald Karlin MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2022
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