I had triple bypass surgery in May 2001 at age 58. I had no symptoms or discomfort - just failed a stress test I'd requested when I noticed a 'new' shortness of breath when running the dog at night. I didn't have a heart attack and my heart suffered no damage. The vein was harvested from my left leg.
I was back to work in four weeks and have had no problems what-so-ever. The only medication I take subsequent to the surgery is half of a 50mg Lopressor in a.m. and the remaining half in p.m.
I was so disappointed with my cardiologist that I fired him after the third surgical follow-up meeting and have been using my family practishioner since. Together, we monitor my physical condition, BP (avg 129/83 pulse 82), cholersteral (now a robust 97 down from 155 prior to surgery), weight (180 / 6'), etc. I'll be taking my first stress test since the surgery, tomorrow. We plan to use it as a base-line for 6-mth comparisons. So far, I'd say I've been lucky and worked hard to stay that way.
I have two questions:
1. I was a regular blood donor prior to surgery. I gave about every 60 days. I'd like to start giving again. Is there any reason not to? Perhaps just a few times a year? What do you advise?
2. I understand that a typical graft (using a vein) may last approximately 10 years. What should I be doing to improve the potential outcome of the second procedure (I'll be about 65-67), which I understand is usually a bit trickier?
(1)I would wait several months prior to donating blood to ensure that your own blood supply is back to normal levels. Also, Have your blood count checked prior to the first donation. The Red Cross may have regulations about donating blood after surgery -- check www.redcross.org for full information.
(2) Keep yourself in as good as shape as you can. Regular exercise, blood pressure control, maintenance of proper weight, regular check-ups, no cursing, saying your prayers, etc. are your best bet.
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