Recovery after quad bypass - British Heart Fou...

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Recovery after quad bypass

Mollie191 profile image

Hello everyone.

I have joined this group in the hope of finding support.

My husband who is 43 had a heart attack in September last year completely out the blue. He has never smoked a cigarette in his life and has a job that keeps him incredibly active & eats well so it was a real shock.

He ended up having a quadruple bypass a week later.

We have 2 young boys and as a family we are struggling to find our feet again. My husband is very down for many reasons so I was hoping to connect with someone who has been through this where I could maybe ask some very non intrusive questions about your recovery.

Many thanks all

28 Replies
MichaelJH profile image
MichaelJHHeart Star

Hello and welcome to the forum! My story is somewhat different. Whilst some medics put my CVD (cardio vascular disease) down to my diabetes the cardiologist's agreed with me it was hereditary - my father, his brother and their father all died prematurely of heart attacks. I feel I was lucky as I developed severe angina that lead to a quadruple bypass eighteen months ago.

If I can help I any way please ask.

Mollie191 profile image
Mollie191 in reply to MichaelJH

Hi MichaelJH

Thank you so much for reply. I hope you are on the road to recovery.

My husband is now 4 months after surgery. He had veins taken from his leg to replace the arteries in his heart. So it’s his chest / heart & leg that were effected.

He still suffers with aches & pains every day in his neck shoulder chest & leg and takes paracetamol daily to manage this.

He is very much feeling like this is pain he will have to live with forever. I’ve tried to gently remind him that he is only 4 months in to his recovery & he needs to give himself time but he is feeling very down at the moment and finds it hard to believe that these aches & pains will ever go.

Can I ask if you experienced these aches & pains & when in your recovery do you think you reached a point and went “wow ok I don’t hurt any more”

He is gaining strength back & I see the improvement weekly however he can only see what he can’t do at the moment not what he can do.

It would be interesting to know if the aches & pains are “normal”

With many thanks for your support

MichaelJH profile image
MichaelJHHeart Star in reply to Mollie191


I was on reducing doses of Tramadol for the first month because of breastbone pain. It was a hard month as in addition to the 2018 heatwave I developed an electrolyte imbalance and anemia. Alongside this I had problems with my right hand - they believe the ulnar nerve that runs through the shoulder to the hand got nipped when they parted the breastbone. By the end of month three I felt I was making real progress. However, and friends who have had OHS (open heart surgery) agree, it is amount the six month mark you feel you are more or less back to normal. One friend is a keen cyclist but although he was walking well it was a full year before he returned to the saddle (issues with tightness and scarring of the leg post surgery).

I would suggest your husband sees his GP about the shoulder aches as some physio may be appropriate. Good luck...

Mollie191 profile image
Mollie191 in reply to MichaelJH

I think I will get him booked in ! Many thanks for your advise & kind words

Hi mollie191

Sorry to hear about your husband's aches and pains

Maybe my story can shed some light on this?

I was a competitive racing cyclist till 45, able to ride easily at 25 av

Then was able to ride at 17 av with my own ability group in 2016 aged 66

Riding up a very steep hill in May 16 I felt 'strange'

Never ever felt like this before, so went straight to A+E

Months later, 3 cardiac arteries were found to be 95% clogged up

(genetic factors)

Had triple CABG in Feb 17 at St Thomas

That was HUGELY successful - thanks NHS!

However, what the NHS gives the NHS takes away!

I was given a short 12 week course of rosuvastatin 5 mgs, in early 2017. which gave me muscle aches

I told my GP and specialist about this

However, neither took me off them - as they should have

At 12 weeks I took myself off them!

However, despite stopping 3 years ago the muscle aches are not only still there, but have progressed, to the point where I can only ride my bike at about 10 av

My old group are still smashing it at 17 av!

Taking those statins, I can honestly say was THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE

I never had any complications, aches or pains at all from the actual CABG

As It's such a successful op, millions of people round the world have benefited from this, since it was first done in the 50's

So, if your husband is still on statins, please ask him to consider stopping?

All the best

Alps HOLIDAY - my favourite cyclng hol!i

My husband had a quintuple bypass 18 months ago. He was very fit and active beforehand, which I think is good for recovery. He had arteries/ veins taken from his chest, arm and leg. He did get pain in his chest and neck in the early days. Everyone’s recovery is different but at 6 months those pains started to ease, and he started doing 3 days a week carpentry again. After a year he was back waterskiing again, which is his passion. It’s not all a bed of roses all the time. I don’t know if it’s age or tablets , but I think he tires more easily. It’s a huge trauma for the body to go through and I think it takes a bit of time to recover mentally and physically.

Mollie191 profile image
Mollie191 in reply to Seal59

Hi Seal

Thank you for your message.

My husband is 4 months after a quad bypass.

He is feeling very down & as he puts it “meh” right now. He aches every day & cant see pass these aches & pains yet.

He is back at work but only part time & starts the second half of the gym rehab that they recommend next week.

But he feels like these aches & pains are going to be with him forever and that he will never feel “well” again.

He fails to see how much he can do (which is a lot) and only sees what he can’t do & how tiered he gets.

How was your husband feeling at 4months?

Thank you x



I was 37 when I had my heart attack. That came out the blue. I was fitter than I ever had been as donating my bone marrow as came up as a match for someone on the anthony nolan trust register.

I had a massive heart attack in my sleep and cat attacked me to get me up and had a stent and then 6 months later a pacemaker.

It transpired after a couple of years I have a blood clotting disorder called antiphosphilipid syndrome and have a couple of clots near the heart but plodding along. It is 10 years this year. Wish your husband all the best and with support he will get there. The bhf nurses are amazing if he ever needs to chat.



Mollie191 profile image
Mollie191 in reply to mostin1973

Wow - you just never know do you.

This community has been great so far and so kind.

My husband ended up having a quad bypass. He is 4 months in & still gets a lot of aches & pains which is getting him down. He is 4 months after the op and can only see what he can’t do yet rather than what he can do compared to 6 weeks ago.

He is fearful that he will have to live with these aches & pains for ever and that he will never feel “well” again.

Is this normal do you think? I would just like to know what people’s recovery have been like.

He’s feeling very alone on this so it would be good to show him the stories of other people’s recovery’s

Thank you x

I hope the mog got a nice steak dinner for that middle-of-the-night rescue:)


I have had a triple bypass and have made excellent recovery. I too never smoked, eat very healthy foods and did triathlons. I too went into stock when l was told l needed a triple bypass.

I had a tough time initially but now, l am nearly back to normality.

Having done alot of research into every aspect of CHD, l am more than happy to help, if you would like.

Mollie191 profile image
Mollie191 in reply to svor

Hi svor

Thank you for your message. Could I ask how long your recovery took?

My husband is 4 months after a quad bypass.

He is feeling very down & as he puts it “meh” right now. He aches every day & cant see pass these aches & pains yet.

He is back at work but only part time & start the second half of the gym rehab that they recommend next week.

But he feels like these aches & pains are going to be with him forever and that he will never feel “well” again.

He fails to see how much he can do (which is a lot) and only sees what he can’t do & how tiered he gets.

How were you feeling at 4months?

Thank you

Hi Mollie, firstly sorry to hear about your husband. I am 42 years old and I started to feel uneasy in September of last year also. I started to feel a heartburn sensation and chest pain on movement and I was struggling to walk short distances and climb stairs.

I knew something was up but A&E and the GP could not really find aanything with my ECG or general checks - I felt as if something had to happen befor they took me serious - I was not taking that risk - so I turned to private healthcare to see a consultant. I suspected I had angina or was on the verge of a heartache but luckily my blood results showed i had not had an attack. I knew something was up so I pushed it I saw the consultant and he agreed I had symptoms of angina and I should get an angigram - I went back to hospital the admitted me this time and did an echo (fine), stress test which showed i was struggling and then gave me meds and sent me home after 4 days!.

I was annoyed and pushed for angio. Eventually a few weeks later the did an scan which showed artery blockages and then did the angiogram a week or so later which gave a more accurate reading of the blockages. At this stage I had done tons of research and started to move towards a plant based diet to prepare for any procedures and also long term to see if I could reverse any of the blockages. Ibstarted tonlose weight from 82kg to about 75kgs. Even after the angiogram the doctors said they would get back to me on their cobclusion. I thought it was obvious the paths to take. I didn't want to wait so went back to the consultant to review my results and see cardiologist I was ready for a bypass. I saw consultant in a matter fo days and saw the cardiologists few days later who agreed with me and recommended the bypass and I said lets get it done as quick as possible.

I had a quad bypass on the 16th of jan and I am currently on day 28 of recovery. The procedure went well I was prepared and I have stayed positive and optimistic throughout seeing this as a second chance being handed to me. My wife has been great in supporting me and helping us change our thinking and diet to educated our children (i found that the hesrt condition is genetic as well as being down to my lifestyle) and aid longevity. I have three daughters - all under 10. My scars are healing great- I have used meditation to relax and breathe and really believe the plant based diet is a force which has helped me prepare and also post op felt it is something to focus positively on for change.

My latest blood result my Cholesterol is down to 2.2 the lowest it has been in 10+ years ...maybe ever LoL. I am walking about 5km daily and feel better each day and am looking to returning to work in about 2 weeks - most probably working 2 /3 days from home as I find i am still getting my strength and energy back. Simple outings can still drain your energy a lot more than before.

Rehab starts next week where I want to start gaining strength and push myself more to get back to normality. I know the road is still long but I have taken positives on the stories of people who have got their lives back and am determined to take control of this as much as possible.

I apologise for the long post and know everyone's journey mentally and physically is different. I am happy to talk with you or your husband to share concerns and thoughts if it helps.

Sending strength and positive vibes to you to help find your path.


Mollie191 profile image
Mollie191 in reply to Razta

Hi Razta.

Wow what a story !! Well done for pushing to get the correct outcome for you.

A bypass is a HUGE op and recovery can take time but like you said for longevity it’s the right thing to do.

My husband like yourself is hereditary as we found after the event & we also have 2 young boys that we are know educating as the likely hood of them having this is quite high (heartbreaking but power is knowledge)

My husband had veins taken from his leg & chest & he is 4 months after surgery. He is back at work but only part time.

He LOVED the rehab, it did him the world of good both mentally & physically. He has just signed up to do the second gym phase of this rehab which starts next week. So absolutely embrace it with both hands !!

I’m going to get him to connect to this group I think. He is feeling very alone at the moment and feels like these aches & pains will never go. He can only see what he can’t do at the moment rather than all he can do compared to 6 weeks ago.

I will show him your message and suggest the breathing & relaxing. I think that would make a massive difference to his mental health.

I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery. It sounds like you are on a very positive path which is wonderful.

Thank you for your support x

Hi Mollie. I had a triple bypass last October and on the whole have made a good recovery although I do sometimes get some aches and pains. I have been attending the cardiac rehabilitation classes which I have found to be a big help and I do recommend that your husband completes his sessions. The procedure can affect people in different ways and I do suggest speaking to his GP about how he is feeling. It's also worth checking out the BHF website to find out more ways of getting help and support. Wishing you and your husband all the very best.


I had CABG x3 on April 30th of last year (I'm 46) after having a heart attack on 5/5/18. I was also healthy and active and unfortunately this is just genetics.

My leg is still a bit swollen and I still feel the occasional tingle/numbness/soreness from where they harvested the arteries and veins. It's normal and my cardiologist said it can take a year to subside, while the tingle may be something I'm going to have to live with. They did cut through nerves after all.

Pain the neck and shoulders might be statins. I was perfectly fine with high dose statins before CABG and about four months after I started getting horrible soreness in my shoulders and upper arms. At one point it felt like my muscles were coming off my bone. It was the statins. We are going through the process now of starting low and working up to tolerable statin and dose but the pain is much, much better.

Hope that helps!

Hi Mollie

I had open heart surgery to fix valve problems and found the rehab exercises to be very useful. The operation that your husband had is probably the most invasive that anyone can have and it does take a lot of time to recover and gather strength. There is an initial phase where your body is trying to work out which way is up, what the hell just happened and what is there to be done. Aches and pains everywhere.

After 3 months he should be able to pick up some speed but it will take time for full strength to return. If he can get some regular, gentle, non stop exercise in place after he has completed his rehab it will help. Walking is a great start. If he gets a fitbit or apple watch it will be useful in recording progress and he will be able to see his progress clearly laid out before him

Have a good look at his diet. The BHF suggests the Mediterranean diet which is well worth following as a way of life if you want to avoid clogging up your arteries again. pity about the cakes and biscuits though.

Now is also the time to look at all his vital signs - blood pressure, sugar levels, cholesterol and most importantly, is his waist half his height? Nice and easy does it, but consistency is everything.

My husband had a 5-way bypass 20 years ago. Bypass surgery is the gold standard for CAD and the technology developed over the past 20 years has been phenomenal.

Yet, it still takes time for your body and mind to recover.

During the survey they take out your lungs, stop your heart and you are under anesthesia for hours and being on a ventilator to breath for you. The veins are harvested for the by pass and of course to access the heart they gave to saw open the rib cage. Sorry if this sounds horrible but it’s the trauma your body goes through during the surgery. The patient of course is under sedation and we are in the waiting room and haven’t a clue what’s happening in surgery.

Recovery takes time, yet the body is an amazing thing! And as others have stated 6 months seems to be when things suddenly get working together.

If your husband has the opportunity to go to cardiac rehab that is a MUST. My husband resisted at first but it turned his life around! It helped him to physically recover but more importantly his mental attitude changed completely! He realize that he was not alone and his fellow travelers were on the same path. The nurses and monitoring are amazing and it provides a safe environment to begin an exercise regimen for life.

Diet, exercise and mental health will also be addressed. If you find your husband seems depressed after a couple of months seek help from your cardiologist or GP. Depression seems to be a phenomena that developed after bypass. My husband had a few sessions with a counselor and put on antidepressants for a while.

My husband was 64 when he had his Surgery. This week he will celebrate his 85th.

We’ve traveled, held grandchildren in our arms,

seen them married, sailed the Caribbean and have enjoyed our Second Chance!

A HA is not a death sentence. Yes, life style changes will need to be made but the best is yet to come!

I'm 73 years old and also never had a cigarette but I needed a quadruple bypass on Christmas Eve at Basildon...I had my 6 week assessment at Basildon last week and was given the all clear and signed off. I walk most days and I'm now up to 3 miles. I had severe shoulder aches & pains for the first few weeks and had plenty paracetamol but the pains went almost overnight but I seem to be able to pull muscles in my chest by just doing simple things so lifting and stretching is out. I think that I'm well on the way to a full recovery and start rehab programme next week.

Looking at all the replies it seems that we all recover at different speeds but get there in the end. All the best to you both.

This thread just shows how different everyone is. Recovery is easier for men than women (having boobs poses problems) and apparently the older you are normally the easier it is - I read that older folk tend to have slacker muscles which do not traumatise as easily. However going by folk here many of you seem very fit so this

does not appear to apply to you. I am 57 female and 2.5 months post triple bypass.

I had further admissions due to contracting pneumonia and C Difficile in hospital that

were not picked up in hospital initially. Hats off to Razta, looks like being younger has given you the edge (contrary to what I have read). I generally feel well but still struggle with fatigue and so far only managed about half a mile in walking. However physical improvements are noticable daily. For numb/tingling areas light massage - I still have some chest numbness and on one side of leg graft area (which is really not so bad), but this has worked for many areas and I continue to do it. Oh and as soon as scars heal moisturise and massage (to break down any lumpy scar tissue)- I use organic virgin coconut oil. Didn't have much in the way of lumpy scarring but it has definitely worked on the few bits that were. This has to be done as firmly as you can - check out physio sites on Youtube for techniques. My daughter is a physio and agrees

there are very good instructionals there.

As others have said here, everyone is different.

It is important to note the small improvements and take joy in them. Mollie, if your husband is not good at self massage, maybe you could do it. Should be done a few times a day for best results.

Hi Mollie191

My husband had a quad bypass August 2014. He was a heavy smoker and his diet wasn’t great. A non-alcoholic though.

He played cricket (A/B Grade Cricket) so was active however he had quite a stressful job in Sales (Building suppliers) which is when he thinks he noticed some signs.

Men in general don’t like going to the drs and we now know he suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This plus his stressful job contributed to an episode whilst playing cricket.

Eventually admitted to hospital, after many tests including an angiogram they concluded that he needed a Quad Bypass.

Hospital stay was 5 days then 5 days in a respite care home then home. 5 weeks later my husband went back to full time work, light duties. He felt he needed to go back to work as he was so bored.

Are situation was a terrible one as I was in the Uk (I’m a British Citizen) and he was in Australia on his own without any family support. So this may be a determining factor for his determination to get better quickly as he wanted to join me back in the Uk as soon as he was able to.

My husband’s pain threshold is pretty high but it was roughly 2/3 weeks of daily codeine and panadol pain relief. After that it was paracetamol if and when needed.

He found the hardest thing to cope with was his frustration.

Now approx 5 years later he still gets discomfort in the chest when in the colder months of the year.

He is on Atorvastatin (for Cholesterol ) and Aspirin (for Blood Thinning) and Lercanidipine (for BP). Since joining me back in the UK in 2015 he has changed his job, working for a Landscaping company as it’s more physical and less stressful and is much happier mentally and physically.

My husband says he should keep persisting and he will get better day by day. It will take time but he’ll get there.

Having a supportive family is so important and helps so much. My family were all there for him and this also encouraged him to keep improving.

His cricket and golf helped him keep fit too which he started again a year later after bypass.

Think the gym will definitely help.

Hope this helped 🙂

Thank you so much for your kind words x

Hi Mollie191. I am replying to your post as I can understand how your husband feels. I too had a quad bypass which came out of the blue and had the vein taken from my leg, although I had my surgery before actually having a heart attack. This is a brutal operation for the body and also for the emotions as you have to learn to trust your body again. I found that every ache or twinge was scary as you imagine that it is something serious.

3 years on I still have occasional aches, twinges and feelings of tightness in my chest but I don't worry about them now. My GP says this is all normal after having your chest opened up and this can be the case for many years. It doesn't stop me leading a normal, active life. I go to the gym 2 or 3 times a week and the exercise makes me feel more confident about my health.

So my message is a positive one. Although you do feel aches and pains and you can feel down and lost in the early stages, you do get over it. I think that timescales are different for each individual but I am sure that your husband will get his strength back. It's easy to expect too much too soon but keep focusing on the steady progress being made each week. I recommend completing the rehab classes and then to keep going with some gentle exercise afterwards to gradually rebuild confidence.

I hope this is of some help and I wish you all well.

Mollie191 profile image
Mollie191 in reply to Pops19

Thank you so much for your kind words x

Hi Mollie

You’ve had lots of replies which I hope have helped you understand that a full recovery is possible but does vary person to person.

I know you’ll be trying to share these posts with your husband, but it would be even better if you could get him to engage with this site himself and express his own feelings, then we could reassure him personally that he’s actually doing ok.

Feeling “down” is to be expected - we’ve all passed through it, some quicker than others - so tell him to give himself a break, and perhaps get some help from the GP - anti-depressants might be prescribed.

Wishing you both all the best!

Mollie191 profile image
Mollie191 in reply to Elvee2

Thank you so much for your kind words x

Reading your post brings back a lot of memories as I was in a similar position aged 44 years. There is light at the end of the tunnel but it can feel as if you will never get there, but eventually you break through and wonder what all the fuss was about. I am now 66 with a range of other problems as well but have just slowed down and try to enjoy life as best I can.

Mollie191 profile image
Mollie191 in reply to shopman

Thank you so much for your kind words x

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