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Sternum Pain
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Sternum Pain

Having read the thread concerning this I'd like to ask if folks who are 3 years or more post-op are getting problems. I had my op just over 5 years ago - triple bypass following heart attack. Even now I still get regular pain - mostly bearable but sometimes unpleasant and wearing. The pain is best described as like having had a good bruising - especially in the area of my left pectoral muscle where the surgeon harvested one oft he arteries from. The sternum itself is very uneven at the top of the closure and I can induce clicks by pressing on the bottom of the closure nearest my abdomen (although doing this is not painful). Sleeping awkwardly, or pressing against the sternum when leaning over my desk at work can make the pain quite unpleasant. I have also suffered from a regular and quite persistent pain between my shoulder blades since the surgery. Painkillers are sometimes needed to ease the situation but I don't like to take too many of these things along with the other drugs I'm on. I have never been back to my surgeon as after visiting my GP it seemed as though the verdict was just live with it! Some of the issues may be related to the statins (Lipitor 40mg) but I've tried several and so far this is the best of the bunch as far as causing symptons go. I had to give up jogging as the pounding on the road made the sternum pain really bad for days after so I now have taken to road cycling, which I can manage very well. I also suspect a lot of the trouble I'm experiencing is down to scar tissue as I still feel really "tight"at the point where the sternum ends and the abdominal area starts. Is anyone else experiencing similar symptons years after surgery - I just don't know whether this is normal or if I should pursue through another GP or surgeon.


This discussion is related to Sternum pain after By-pass Surgery.
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Avatar_m_tn
I too have this problem.I had my bypass (cabgX3) in June 2007.In fact;I could have written your post.My pain is exactly as you describe.Next Wednesday my surgeon is going to remove the 8 stainless wires around my sternum although he doesn't feel that they are causing the problem. I feel like every time that I lift anything heavy or even shoot one of my rifles;there is this pulling  of flesh against wire in my chest.I've been going to a pain clinic  but so far only marginal success.I am afraid to exercise much because every time I do I hurt.I like your idea of cycling.It's been some time since your post so I don't know if you will read this.............Doc Holliday
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for the reply John - I have this week finally gone for chest X-Rays as I did go back to my GP and ask that they be taken - if only to give peace of mind that I'm not going to fall apart one day! I will know results in a week or so and will post again when I've seen the Dr for his comments. Cycling is great - it gives you a really good cardio-vascular work-out without any impact stress. I've done a few challenging sportif rides in the last 9 months and plan to fo a few of the Alpine climbs later this year - Alpe D'huez, Col de Telegraph etc. I cannot recommend it enough - and I also use riding (with heart monitor) to basically do my own stress testing. I figure that while I can get the heart rate up to around 170 at peak, and average 145 for 4 or 5 hours then the arteries must still be keeping relatively clear !!!
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Avatar_m_tn
You sound like I want to BE.............feeling fit.But after a day at my physically tiring job,I just feel like sitting down and resting.Also I;ve tried several statins but they all make my muscles hurt badly.Amen to the unpleasant and WEARING pain.Everytime I think it is gone for good......here it comes again.I'll let you know how I feel after I have the wire out, Lord willing. JHH
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Avatar_m_tn
After a days' delay,I had the sternal wire removed yesterday.I got home today about 4pm.Its gonna be awhile until I can tell anything cause I'm hurting so bad right now I had to take some Percocet.I was up all last nite at the hospital,sick from the anestesia.And I thought the scar was ugly the first time........goin to bed now..........JHH
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi John - sorry to hear that you're having a rought time with this - let's hope that it does actually give you some relief in the long term.

I'm due to see my GP again this week to discuss the X-ray results - my suspicion is that they will prove/disprove absolutely nothing which will mean that I just accept the situation and live with it - which, let's face it, is what we're all doing. I think the bottom line here is that the doctors/surgeons/consultants simply do not appreciate that a lot of patients have to significantly change the way they do things in order to keep the discomfort to a minimum. In my own experience I was merely told by my surgeon on my discharge from hospital to eat just fish for the rest of my life (which I don't!!) - no advice on what physically to do/not do, or what to expect medium to long term. It seems we have to learn what each of our own individual limkits are and then adjust - but seeing that this procedure is now one of ther most commonly performed you would think that the amount of post-operative data they have at their disposal is enormous??

Anyway - my best wishes for a speedy recovery - will post again when I know more.
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