Slow Recovery from Coronary Bypass Surgery

    • March 12, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      Had coronary bypass surgery last month. Surgery went well, but although most patients can walk the hospital corridors fairly easily 3 days post-surgery, I could barely stand 3 days post-surgery and could not walk the hospital corridors until 5 days post-surgery.

      Had severe GBS in 1999 — completely paralyzed, 4+ months on vent, 7 months in hospital. Mostly recovered with mild residual effects — significant toe drop and some hand weakness. At the time, neuros said I had some axonal damage in addition to the extensive demyelination.

      Would like to know how GBS survivors with mild residual effects have fared with respect to recovery from major surgeries occurring years after the GBS.

      Likewise, although I am certain my GBS is responsible for my delay in recovery from the recent bypass surgery, I do not know what the causal connection is — i.e., did it take my damaged axons longer than normal axons to recover from the 6 hrs of heavy anesthesia, were my muscles weaker than average, are the bodies of GBS survivors just generally more vulnerable to the shock effect of major surgery?

      Any thoughts? Thanks.

      (I’m now 2 weeks post-surgery and my recovery is going smoothly. Just very surprised at the delay in my recovery.)

    • GH
      March 13, 2018 at 2:36 am

      I don’t know why you would think there was a causal relation. There is statistical variation in every medical condition. You couldn’t separate normal variation from variation due to GBS from a single case. A larger cohort would be required, but the population which meet the criteria is quite small.

      My thoughts are to just do the best you can to recover and don’t worry about unprovable hypotheses.

    • March 13, 2018 at 6:56 am

      I had major surgery for a perforated ulcer 2 1/2 years after getting GBS. As far as I can tell my recovery time was fairly normal.

    • March 13, 2018 at 11:54 am

      GH — Thanks for your reply. Agree that one person’s unusual experience could be anecdotal rather than evidentiary. The RNs/PTs in my large cardiac surgery unit thought my delay in regaining the ability to stand/walk was very unusual — until I finally started improving (rapidly), they wanted me to plan on going to an acute rehab facility rather than home. The only factor I can identify that might explain my unusual experience is the GBS, particularly the GBS residuals — except for the GBS, I was in unusually good shape compared to most bypass patients going into the surgery.

      Seems there might be value for other GBS survivors (particularly those with residuals) in knowing about my experience (if it was, in fact, attributable to the GBS). At a minimum, if other GBS survivors who undergo cardiac bypass (or other multi-hour surgery) are likely to have a similar experience, knowing about my experience would relieve a lot of the stress/panic they might otherwise experience in the immediate post-surgery days. Also, GBS survivors who have more extensive residuals than I do might have their neural systems be severely compromised by the lengthy surgery — something the docs involved might not be prepared for. And, it might cause them to consider alternative approaches to the current problem — i.e., stenting rather than bypass for coronary artery disease.