What regular checkups are recommended after bypass surgery?

A fellow caregiver asked...

I had bypass surgery. What regular checkups after this are recommended to avoid getting blocks and to know the condition of heart regularly?

Expert Answer

Carolyn Strimike, N.P. and Margie Latrella, N.P. are cardiac nurse practitioners specializing in the prevention of heart disease and stroke. They have over 40 years of nursing experience in Cardiology between them. The main goal of their work is to counsel, motivate and empower women to adopt healthy lifestyle choices.

Regular checkups with your cardiologist after bypass surgery are essential to prevent future blockages and mantain optimal heart health. Your cardiologist should monitor:

*Blood Pressure-normal blood pressure should be less than 120/80

*Cholesterol-the goal for your LDL (bad cholesterol) should be less than 70 mg/dl. Your triglycerides (another type of fat monitored in the blood) should be less than 150 mg/dl. Your HDL (good cholesterol) should be greater than 50 mg/dl in men and greater than 60 mg/dl in women.

Frequency of the regular checkups after bypass will depend upon the condition of your heart following surgery and how well controlled your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers are.

Other tests that the cardiologist may order include a Stress test, Echocardiogram and 12 lead electrocardiogram. These tests can help determine the condition of the heart muscle. The timing of these follow-up tests is up to your cardiologist.

You should also still see your primary care provider for yearly physical exams and management of any other risk factors and medical issues. It is important to maintain an appropriate weight and blood sugar by following a healthy diet and exercising regularly to prevent future blockages.