Chest Soreness

I'm now 10 weeks out from my quadruple bypass and my lingering problem is soreness in the chest, more so on the left...along the sternum and in the chest muscles.

What are your experiences with this? I'd love to know if this is normal at 10 weeks.

Thanks,
rex

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Sounds like your doing pretty good, Rex. But I'm afraid I don't know what normal is...

I'm six months post CAB4G and still sore with rib issues (mostly left side) around the sternum-chest area.

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I'm just about 8 weeks post surgery (4x CABG) and have similar issues. My doctor told me that they need to cut through muscles and nerves and it takes a long time for all that to heal. Numbness may subside as time goes on. He also told me to remember "they crack you like a chicken" and that your body is "opened up wide to get to the heart".

So I guess the discomfort is "normal" as normal as normal can be and it is not uncommon.

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Rex,

I am six weeks out for triple bypass. After about four weeks my sternum healed well, but I had/have pretty severe rib pain in my upper right side. According to my surgeon, who by all accounts is very well thought of, having a broken or separated rib is very common with open heart surgery. When they separate the sternum, a rib or ribs often suffer. He said to anticipate a two to three month recovery from the rib issue.

So I would say you are in the normal mode and it just takes time. My chest pain is getting pretty old, but it just has to run its course. If I put pressure on it before a cough or sneeze (God forbid), I can subdue the pain considerably.

Take care. This ain't fun, but at least we took care of it in time.

RM

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Rex, I found that if your ribs and chestbone grow back normally they take about 8-12 weeks. If you have sternum, rib or backbone problems healing it can take a year. Intermittant aches and the odd sharp pain you will get for many months. Give your body a chance to recover. Take your time.

Reinhard

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I'm two years post-CABG x3 and it took a long time for some of those aches and pains to go away...and i still get some twinges. my sternum pops on occasion which is kinda freaky...but nothing has fallen apart (although I felt like it was for the longest). My ribs hurt in the back and I couldn't sleep on my left side for about a year. Maybe I'm just a slow healer...but exercise I think helped quite a bit.

Bottom line...it just takes time.

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Thanks to all - when I Googled to find out more about sternotomy, I was led to believe that it required no cutting of muscles, but I think you're right - it feels like muscles and nerves were compromised, or why else would we be numb?

Thanks for all the replies - you make me feel a lot better!



rex

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I am now 3 months post cabgx2 and I still have soreness and discomfort in my chest and on my upper right chest/shoulder area. I also still have numbness in my breasts and area where tubes were. They are minor compared to what I was feeling. Hopefully it will become minimal for you soon. God Bless

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Hi Kingrex
Sounds like you're doing pretty well.
If you had a CABG, it's possible they used an internal mammary artery for one graft, rather than a leg or arm vein - if so, then they have to dissect out that artery from the inside of the chest wall on the left and that can give some nerve damage.
Initially you have areas of numbness on the left (or perhaps right in the USA, cos you drive on the wrong side too, don't you?) .
This numbness is followed by odd pains as the nerves grow back - I got stabbing or shooting pains ranging from a pinprick to a blunt sabre stab for quite a few months and am still left (18 months on) with a very weird mixture of numbness and sensitivity over my left chestal area.

Don't worry about it - no-one seems to have died from post-operative pain, as far as I'm aware - it is only pain, you are not doing yourself any harm!
Very best wishes
John

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Kingrex/John,

I am now 14 weeks post op and still feel some numbness on the left/center, and pain from the ribs at times right from center. And then, at times, I have no soreness at all. I was told they used my left mammary vein as well as a vein from the right leg (my right thigh is STILL pretty much numb, but the incision has FINALLY healed). Like you, John, I have had times when a pain (usually minor) will come from nowhere and I wonder whether or not I should call a doctor, and then it passes. I, too, have to remind myself that its going to take time. Right now, I am just thankful that I am past the "Am I EVER going to feel better??!?!?!?!?" stage. That was just plain AWFUL!! Give yourself a break, Kingrex..........you've been through hell. Hope you're feeling improved soon..........I believe you will. Cheers!!

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Thanks again folks...the soreness continues, of course, but it's improving. This week I began adding upper body exercise during cardiac rehab - nothing major, just the hand bike and using my arms on the machines that have arm grips, i.e., the elliptical trainer and the NuStep seated step machine. I'm feeling it in the arms and, of course, in the chest. It's amazing how these muscles atrophy after not using them for three months!

Yes, they took both my mammary arteries for my CABG x 4, so that would also explain the soreness above the sternal notch - those arteries extend all the way to the aortic arch.

Leg soreness continues, s/p the saphenous vein graft.


rex

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i am only slightly over 3 weeks posst op cant lay down to go to sleep sterum is so painful still in will the pain ever subside.god bless

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I'm still sleeping in my recliner after 13 weeks, so it may take some time in that regard. Amazingly, my back seems to prefer the recliner. OTOH, the rest of me would prefer to be in bed with my wife. ;)


rex

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