Odd Feeling: Hi folks, bit of... - British Heart Fou...

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Odd Feeling

Longdog
Longdog

Hi folks, bit of background, 73, never been in hospital until this September when I was taken into local hospital with food poisoning. While in A & E I had a heart attack. Following Angiogram I undertook Quadruple Bypass at the end of September and was discharged from Barts 5 days later. Now over three months since operation and no contact with Barts, local hospital tells me it doesn't follow up heart surgery so I am relying on my G P who is very good but it's not what I want.

I am a full time carer for my lovely wife who has been suffering with Alzheimer's for the last 13 years.

Am about to start an 8 week course of exercises organised by the NHS.

My question, (eventually!)

After mild work, say washing and dressing the wife I feel strange, a bit tired perhaps? Odd feeling in my chest, nothing drastic, just odd. I assume this is where my Sternum is healing, how long should it take to completely heal, given my age, so that I start to feel 'normal' again?

6 Replies
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MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star

Hello and welcome to the forum! You should have had a follow up appointment 6 - 8 weeks post surgery. Typically they do a chest x-ray (to check for fluid on lungs and to a degree breastbone), ECG and maybe echocardiogram. If this hasn't happened chase it up with your GP.

I felt I reached a turning point at three months but at six months now realise I still had a way to go. The rehab group should have a cardic nurse attaching it. They should be able to advise you further.

Hello, you and I had our bypass operations at about the same time.

I believe that the sternum is sufficiently healed after 12 weeks to allow the patient to return to fairly physical work. However, that's not the entire story. To get back to where you were before the operation, in other words what I'd call "full recovery", more commonly takes about 12 months. For all the muscles and scar tissue and tendons to finally settle down is a long, protracted process.

So what you describe is completely normal, if it's any consolation I'm also still getting the odd twinge, and I expect I'll continue to do so for most of 2019!

Regarding follow up with the hospital that performed the operation. You're supposed to get a final discharge meeting about two or three months after the operation, but it's really no big deal. I had a five minute chat with a junior registrar. It felt brief however, it was actually all that was required!

I appreciate we'd all like to have in-depth contact with our consultant and surgeon, but when everything's gone to plan (as it did with you and I) then that's not really practical nor necessary.

Hello Longdog you sound as though you are doing well not withstanding some concerns you have which are real and valid. I have no personal experience of CABG having just had stents however I recall in my rehab group a woman in her 60's who did have a CABG. She was 3 months post op like you and doing well however one of the Specialist Phyios insisted she opt out of a couple of upper body exercises as she felt it could put undue strain on the sternum area which although 'healed' could take longer than 3 months to fully settle. Discuss your concerns in full with the Physio. Have you a phone number for them as I was able to discuss things prior to attendance. Remember you can also speak to a Specialist Nurse from BHF by calling 0300 330 3311. It's admirable but also demanding Caring for your wife but I wonder if you underestimate the physical effort assisting someone can take. Sometimes you can be so focussed on the task and looking after someone that you don't realise how much you are lifting or straining!! Have you any support in Caring for your wife? I don't know your situation but I have seen many people fulfilling a Caring role and see sourcing help as not the thing to do. I am not saying this is you put just putting it out there for thought.

MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star
in reply to Nathan53

Yes the caring role can involve a lot of lifting and for the first six to twelve weeks the limit is about 2.5lb (approx. 1kg). You should be able to get advice on this at rehab. Overdoing it can cause odd sensations in the breastbone area and in the worse case scenario an instability!

Contact hospital where you had your surgery and find out when your first check up will be. Local hospital doesn't normally do follow up if you had op somewhere else. Try not to get too stresses about it. Sure you will hear from them soon.

Thanks so much for all your very helpful replies.

The situation is that I live some 300 miles from Barts, and because, apparently, I was critically ill, my local hospital in Cornwall got me in to the nearest hospital to have the operation just over a week after the Angiogram.

I did get a letter from Barts asking me to attend at outpatients two months following the op, but a round trip of 13/14 hours was out of the question. I tried for weeks to contact Barts but no response to phone calls or voicemails or, finally, a letter asking them to send my details to my local hospital.

So, as I say, no follow up. You guys have been very assuring so I'll see how things go.

Thanks again for the response, I think I'll stay a member.

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