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Recovery Tracker

Get Well Soon

Helping you to make a speedy recovery after surgery to bypass a damaged blood vessel that supplies blood to the heart

Days/Weeks Post Op How you might feel Things you can do safely Fit to work?

1-2 days

You’ll feel groggy from the anaesthetic and very tired. You’ll also experience pain in your chest area from the operation, and discomfort in your leg.

By the second day, most patients are able to sit up in bed, and nurses will help you with eating and drinking.


2-6 days

Nurses will give you pain relief for your chest and surrounding muscles and your physiotherapist can teach you techniques to reduce discomfort.

  • Exercises to improve your breathing.
  • The nurses and physiotherapist will begin to get you moving around the ward.
  • The nurse or physiotherapist should explain about cardiac rehabilitation and offer to arrange an assessment for you after you have been discharged from the hospital ward phase of your treatment.


1 weeks

At home, any pain can be controlled with the medication you’ve been prescribed. It’s normal to feel anxious or depressed, but do discuss this with your visiting nurse or doctor.

  • Walk around your home. You might feel stiff at first, but getting moving again will help you to recover more quickly.
  • Set aside specific rest times in bed and stick to them. When sitting, raise your legs higher than heart level.


2-4 weeks

You may feel slightly short of breath as your activity levels increase, but this will improve. Avoid activities that put added strain on your heart, particularly after a large meal, and don’t lift or push anything too heavy (over 10lb in weight).

  • Steady exercise, particularly walking, is ideal. Rest after a meal and before and after exercise, and keep a good balance between the two.
  • Do your breathing exercises.


4-6 weeks

You’ll have more energy, but may feel tired towards the end of the day. Any problems with sleeping, memory, or concentration will improve over the coming months.

  • Use the recovery diary to build up your levels of activity slowly and steadily.
  • You may be invited to a cardiac rehabilitation programme, which will include advice on exercise, relaxation and lifestyle, to get you back to as full a life as possible.

Not just yet - but well on the way. Some people will be fit enough to return after 6 weeks.

8-12 weeks

Most patients will be back at work by now. If you have a heavy manual job you may need up to three months in order for your chest to heal properly.

Ask your doctor about beginning a regular exercise programme; you may be eligible for an ‘exercise prescription’.

Yes, usually after two months

16 weeks


If you haven’t had any complications to do with your surgery, and you’re still off work, it’s possible that you’re feeling anxious about returning to work and could do with a bit of help from your GP and your employer. Talk to them both about a gradual return to work.

If you’re off for too long, there’s a risk of developing problems to do with anxiety, isolation, and lack of confidence. These could affect your quality of life in the long term. Talk to your doctor about how best to avoid this becoming a problem for you.




When can I have sex?

For many people, being able to have sex again is an important milestone in their recovery. There are no set rules or times about when it’s safe to do so other than whether it feels OK to you - treat it like any other physical activity and build up gradually.

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