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How painful will it be after heart surgery? Is diabetes common in people recovering from surgery?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 78 Questions
I am about to undergo a valve sparing ascending aortic graft and CABG of my LVR. How much pain will I suffer after I wake up after heart surgery? Will I experience unbearable pain after surgery? How painful will the removal of the drainage tubes to my plural and pericardial regions be? Is diabetes common in people recovering from such surgery?
Posted Sat, 5 May 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Gowri Kulkarni 1 hour later

Thank you for the query.

From your question I gather that you suffer from Hypertension and Heart disease currently taking antihypertensives and lipid lowering medication and are to undergo a valve sparing ascending aortic graft and CABG (Coronary artery bypass grafting).

Coming to your questions,

1. Yes, pain is a part of any post operative procedure. You will however be given enough analgesics and pain killers so as to keep the pain to bare minimum.

2. Continuing from above, yes pain would be present. But experience of the pain depends on,
A. Amount of analgesics given to you
B. Your level of tolerance to pain
C. Total recovery process of the operation

3. As you know that this operation would involve placement of drainage tubes in your chest cavities to ease the drainage of accumulating fluids. The removal of drain is usually done by skilled professionals which would involve experiencing some pain. But if you think that the pain would be unbearable you can request your doctor to prescribe you medications to lower the pain

4. Diabetes is a chronic disease which occurs in individuals who suffer from either decrease in insulin secretion or a resistance to insulin usage by the peripheral organs. It is especially seen in individuals who have the following risk factors:
- Age greater than 45 years
- Excess body weight (especially around the waist)
- Family history of diabetes
- HDL cholesterol under 35 mg/dL
- High blood levels of triglycerides, a type of fat molecule (250 mg/dL or more)
- High blood pressure (greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg)
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Low activity level (exercising less than 3 times a week)
- People who are on certain kind of medications like steroids or antipsychotics etc

I do not think the surgery by itself will cause you to have Diabetes. But considering your history it is advisable that you keep a routine check on your sugars so that if present Diabetes may be detected at an early stage. A good diet and exercise as a part of your daily life will take you a long way in the total well-being of your health.

I hope I have answered all your queries. I will be available for follow up.

May almighty by on your side as you go through the surgery and that you recovery be fast and uneventful


Dr Gowri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How painful will it be after heart surgery? Is diabetes common in people recovering from surgery? 20 hours later
Thank you so much for your reply. As you can probably tell I am terrified of going through such a procedure. I had previous surgeries before as a youth and teen, primarily on my abdomen but not on the chest. The diabetes to which I refer is the temporary pancreatic shutdown due to the trauma caused by surgery. I want to know if this is a common experience and how temporary is temporary? I am also scared of how recovery will be for me. I currently have limitations on how I can sleep caused by post nasal drip - can't sleep on my back, and previous surgeries. Currently all I have available is the recovery position changing sides. Now I am frightened that the only comfortable way I will be able to sleep is if I were taken away from gravity. Is this procedure going to be as horrible as I think?
Answered by Dr. Gowri Kulkarni 1 hour later
Thanks for the follow up.

You have gone through some tough phases in your life. Yes the procedure you are to undergo is a difficult one. You are being very strong facing such an event in your life.

Coming to your question, postoperative organ failure is usually seen in patients undergoing long standing and complicated surgical procedures. Renal,pancreatic and hepatic failure are seen in few but not all.

The postoperative complications really depend on,
1. Your pre-operative health status
2. Presence of long standing associated debilitating illnesses
3. The intra-operative condition
4. The post-operative care in preventing shock, infections etc..

Regarding your sleep, it would be taken care off in the initial recovery period by medications.

Your apprehension regarding the surgery is but natural. But you should keep faith in your doctors and believe in their ability to do best for you.

In the period of adversity we need to try and look at brighter side of life and keep faith in the almighty god. You must keep a positive attitude as a happy and cheerful mind helps us to face difficult situations better and also gives us the strength to recover faster.

May god bless you.

Wishing you good health.


Dr Gowri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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