Chest feeling heavy after bypass surgery

It is exactly 1 year and 7 days. I had been through bypass surgery with 2 grafts. My ejection fraction 2 months after by pass was 30-35%.
Currently it is 50%. I have only one problem. My chest feels very heavy after my bypass surgery. A typical tightness is felt. I do not have any pain. If I walk for some time heaviness/tightness increases, but no pain (no angina).
I discussed this with my cardiac surgeon, who keeps on saying it will go away in time. When... keeps mum.
I consulted 2 other cardiac surgeons and do not have any satisfactory reply. All say everything is fine. This feeling will go away, but I know that even today it persists.
What might be the reason? Any one feeling like this after by pass?
What to do?
Please Help...

Edited October 12, 2013 at 6:37 am

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I also went through Cabg with six grafts a year and a two months back . My ejection fraction has improved from 40 %to 55-60% in last about a year. I also feel stiffness ,not heaviness at my chest ,which has decreased progressively after surgery .I understand from others it takes time to go and is due to sternum cut required for cabg.Long fast walk which I undertake as physical exercise do not enhance heaviness/ stiffness. That is all I have to share. I am 61 and recovered well after surgery I believe .Regards

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I hate to sound stupid, but what is ejection fracture? No one has mentioned this to me. My sternum feels "heavy" 10 weeks after my CABGx4. Some days are worse than others. I am 66 years old and had several prior abdominal surgeries and I find this to be a much slower recovery. I guess I have to just take baby steps and I am very thankful to be alive!

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It is a measurement of how well your heart is pumping out blood. Normal is from 55-70 percent. Under 40 percent may be a sign of heart failure.

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Thanks, Gayla:) Do they do that right away or after a few weeks?

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@cherenae. They do an echocardiogram to find the ejection fraction; my first one was a few weeks after cabg. I don't think they do them on everyone, but they're very commonly used to measure the heart's pumping efficiency.

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I left my ejection fraction at conjunction junction.....

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Me too Mike!

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I've gone decimal.

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I like that Smallberries ... decimal .... ;-)

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Kamal I had my CABGX5 done on 27 August 2012. I was then opened up again on 23 June 2013 for the infection in my incision. I have still not recovered from this and YES I have a VERY heavy feeling in my chest continuously which tends to increase with walking or on turning my chest left or right. I also have a backache which comes and goes every three or four days and keeps me awake at nights even pain killers don't help. I have seen GPs, cardiologists and cardio surgeons, they all say it will go away with time. I'm 67 years old and I keep wondering WHAT time they all talk about. It's miserable, it hurts and it's extremely uncomfortable and they have no answer except that it will go away with time. Sorry couldn't help you. Sherdil

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I can't believe it has been that long since your surgery and you are still feeling that heavy feeling on your chest! I had a double bypass in June of this year 2013, and, I too have the tight, heavy feeling on my chest, plus numbness. No pain though, thank God! Sometimes it feels so tight that it feels like my sternum could just shatter in a million pieces. The doctors act like they have no clue what I'm talking about. All I know is, it is the most annoying feeling and wish it would go away. If anyone has any GOOD NEWS about this heavy feeling, whether it actually goes away, and what could be causing it, I would like to hear from you.

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I had my CABG on Feb. 2006. I still have the tight feeling and heaviness at times. Feels like a tight band discussed with cardiologist he acted like no one ever mentioned this before.

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I hope you recover fast after second surgery. I don't have any backache problem. But chest heaviness, stiffness is not going. Ya , every one says that it will go with time, but when... no body knows.

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I, too, am just over one year post-op, 3XCABG, and still feel a heaviness of the chest, which, in my case, has gradually become localized to the left half of the sternum and overlying skin, often associated with the sensation of being short of breath and light-headedness..

Recent evidence suggests that CABG surgery often results in chronic chest wall pain, termed “post CABG pain syndrome” (PCP). Direct injury to intercostal nerves during the surgical exposure and harvesting of the left internal mammary artery (LIMA) is presumed to underlie this condition. It can involve the skin to the left of the sternum, causing an unpleasant sensation, a heavy weight or pressure of the sternum, a sensation of difficulty in breathing, etc. This abnormal sensation (termed “dysesthesia”), resulting from normal wound healing events, has an anatomic explanation.

During surgery some small nerves are necessarily stretched, bruised, or cut while gaining the anatomic exposure necessary to achieving the goals of the operation. After the operation is over and wound healing begins, nerve regeneration is an integral part of that process. As a nerve regenerates, the axons of the proximal segment attempt to re-connect with those of its distal segment, the end goal being for the nerves to reconnect with their normal nerve receptors and targets. If the nerve was simply bruised or mildly stretched, re-connection is straightforward and normal sensation may return. However, if the nerve was completely severed, as is often the case during major surgical procedures, the regenerating nerve ending reaches out, searching randomly in the healing wound, for an end-organ or receptor waiting on the other side. It is, thus, more likely to establish an abnormal connection: a nerve originally sensing touch may connect with a pressure receptor; a nerve originally sensing temperature may connect with a pain receptor; etc. The resulting abnormal sensation in those areas innervated by such nerves is called "dysesthesia". It is also possible that the regenerating nerve is blocked by, and ends up in, scar tissue, thus giving the scar its own dysesthesia.

Post-operative dysesthesias vary in extent, severity and duration, sometimes lasting a few months, sometimes for years, sometimes permanent, depending upon how the brain and body adjust to the new arrangements. Whether or not any treatment is necessary to alleviate some of the more distressing symptoms can be discussed with your doctors. By the way, “it will get better” isn’t a treatment, it’s a prediction. Understanding “why” you have such symptoms may, at least, help bring some peace of mind.

Lastly, and most important, before diagnosing dysesthesia as the cause of post-CABG symptoms, it is essential that the Cardiology team has done all the necessary testing to assure the heart, lungs and chest wall are otherwise normal. Thus, dysesthesia is a diagnosis of exclusion.

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I thought heaviness and tightness was a sign of Angina?

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Please read my last paragraph.

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lmhovey

Thank you very much for your detailed reply. I have read it again and again and I'm trying to visualize it. Your reply is of great help.

Thanks.

Kamal

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I'm just over a year out from CABG X3 and still have moderate pain/heaviness in my chest, mainly on my right side. With it comes the sensation of being unable to take a deep breath properly. I've had a spirometry test done (normal enough), echo showed ejection fraction at 50-55% with a slight bit of heart damage, I came though a stress test treadmill ok recently (lasted the full 18 minutes) and I'm currently cycling in the region of 150 miles over 4-5 days a week and walking approx 10 miles per week. I have mentioned the discomfort to my doctors who just say that it is 'probably' the trauma to the chest wall which is taking time to heal, and that the deep breathing problem is related to this. Now I know that whilst this is probably the case, it would just be nice for a medical professional to 'definitively' tell me that 'yes this is indeed the case' instead of guessing. In fact I've learned more from Imhovey's excellent reply above, thank-you.
I asked my GP about a 'sniff test' to test the diaphragm and a chest scan to see what level of inflammation i am dealing with, but he just said it wouldn't be worthwhile and that I am doing well. :-/
Onward and upwards........

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In my quest to find the exact cause of the continuing chest discomfort I underwent an endoscopy exam today. If all turns out well after biopsy results are returned then its back to cardiology for some answers. Really enjoyed reading the response from Imhovey lots of information relating to my present condition.

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Imhovey being health professional ,his understanding of subject is best among us all .I see lot of merit in his conveying that the nerves function is not restored completely even after cut wound is healed. My common sense also make me believe the same. Since walking does not enhance stiffness/heaviness in my case and my stiffness has decreased over a period of a year ,I would wait for more time to see if stiffness disappear completely in my case ,though I would rate it as present 85-90% recovery. Additional symptom appeared in my case is an occasional missing pulse beat which was not existent before surgery. I am trying Ayurvedic 'Arjun chhal ' for that . Infact it is considered as heart tonic. More sharing after more first hand experience.Regards to all fellow participant .

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