Post CABG Post traumatic stress disorder

Posted by heartbreaker @heartbreaker, Dec 20, 2018

I had an urgent CABG 2 months ago after a heart attack and just now read up on it to find I was put on a heart-lung bypass machine, and there are other options. My heart was stopped for over an hour! I did not have a transfusion but they used a "cell-saver". Now I wish I would have had "off-pump" and minimally invasive Sx because my post op pain was so great. Last week I had another mild heart attack because the smaller graft failed — I am very discouraged. I have to start physical therapy all over. I had NO risk factors for CAD except one: family history. Now I am obsessed with what happened in surgery and how long my heart was stopped, and the pain I went through which was not well controlled. I was so stunned I had a heart attack that I did not want to know anything ahead of the surgery. Why am I stewing over it now? What to do?

@heartbreaker welcome to Mayo Connect! Good to have you here. What you are going through is totally normal, and I can relate to you questioning if the right method was selected. I am sure you feel like a ticking time bomb. I had bypass of my celiac artery and they clamped my Aorta for the surgery for a long time due to the procedure taking a bit longer than anticipated… I did not understand that, so I did talk to my surgeon about that and was reassured that everything was fine, that it is completely normal to do that with the type of surgery I had. Not comparing what you went through with my experience….just thinking if you sit down with your surgeon he maybe able to explain what you went through and why he chose to go that route. Just knowing the reasoning can help alleviate some of the anxiety and anger. I hope that makes sense to you? Remember when your heart was stopped your body was being profused. I am sorry to hear about not having your pain controlled that is another issue that leads us to experience post traumatic stress syndrome. How are you doing today? Just want you to know you are not alone, sending healing hugs!

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OK — I will try to get an appt. with the surgeon. I appreciate your response and kind words. Yesterday I felt pretty despondent, so I called the hosp. where I had the surgery and asked for the suicide hot line. I called the number and they were very helpful. I need to share my angst with the right people, so I will do that as soon as I can and try to get some psych. help as well.

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Hi @heartbreaker,

How are you doing? I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone (as @kariulrich mentioned). For many people who have had coronary artery bypass surgery, regaining their emotional and mental strength is tougher than healing physically. And patients don’t ever think that they will have such a reaction!
We still don’t know the exact cause, because there could be so many reasons – prolonged time under anesthesia, perhaps the anesthesia or the hypothermia during the operation alters chemicals in the brain, or just the fact that the operation makes you think of your mortality.
Fortunately, there is a lot of research that shows a majority of patients do recover within six months – it will get better.

I’m so glad to see that you’ve joined the ICU group on Connect, too; did you get an explanation from your surgeon about your concerns?

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@heartbreaker Hi I agree with everyone here I had a triple by pass 80,85@90%blockage in 1996 I remember it took awhile for my mind to settle down the anesthesia is hard on the body but a necessary evil as they say
.Hope your are doing well Take care

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Right. My hair falls out in clumps. The dermatologist says it's stress but it will get better in 6 months. I also got a flareup of rosacea. Due to stress. My husband died 3 weeks ago. Also, a staple is pushing its way out of my sternum. The surgeon says to wait a few months but it is painful. But all are fixable. Thanks for your concern.

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@kanaazpereira

Hi @heartbreaker,

How are you doing? I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone (as @kariulrich mentioned). For many people who have had coronary artery bypass surgery, regaining their emotional and mental strength is tougher than healing physically. And patients don’t ever think that they will have such a reaction!
We still don’t know the exact cause, because there could be so many reasons – prolonged time under anesthesia, perhaps the anesthesia or the hypothermia during the operation alters chemicals in the brain, or just the fact that the operation makes you think of your mortality.
Fortunately, there is a lot of research that shows a majority of patients do recover within six months – it will get better.

I’m so glad to see that you’ve joined the ICU group on Connect, too; did you get an explanation from your surgeon about your concerns?

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The surgeon did not really seem concerned about my complaints. Said to come back in 2 months. There is a staple starting to come out of the sternum, which is painful, but he joked that I was too skinny. So I called back and they will order X-ras or CT scans. I hope it can be fixed easily. I have the blues but someone from hospice is helping me. (Added to ICU, my husband died 3 weeks ago.) So it has been a horrible year.

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@heartbreaker

The surgeon did not really seem concerned about my complaints. Said to come back in 2 months. There is a staple starting to come out of the sternum, which is painful, but he joked that I was too skinny. So I called back and they will order X-ras or CT scans. I hope it can be fixed easily. I have the blues but someone from hospice is helping me. (Added to ICU, my husband died 3 weeks ago.) So it has been a horrible year.

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I can relate to how you are feeling. Sorry about your loss. Just take it one day at a time.

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@heartbreaker

Right. My hair falls out in clumps. The dermatologist says it's stress but it will get better in 6 months. I also got a flareup of rosacea. Due to stress. My husband died 3 weeks ago. Also, a staple is pushing its way out of my sternum. The surgeon says to wait a few months but it is painful. But all are fixable. Thanks for your concern.

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@heartbreaker I'm sorry for you loss it doesn't seem like you,ll get back to normal but in time you will My husband died in 2000 took a good while to feel normal again . After my by pass I had pain in sternum Dr did xray and it should the nerves didn't regenerate as they should have so the anesthologist gave me 2 injections in the sternum area to grow the nerves back together . But it still hurt for along time afterward. I would want that staple out . advocate for yourself .

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