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After Bypass Surgery: Getting Up and Out of Bed

After coronary artery bypass surgery, it's important to protect your incision and healing breastbone. Move carefully as you get up from sitting or as you get out of bed.

Getting up from sitting

Man sitting at front edge of chair, getting ready to stand up.Man standing up from chair.

When you get up from a chair or couch, use your leg muscles, not your arms, to push your body up.

To stand up:

  1. Scoot to the front of the chair.

  2. Place one foot slightly in front of the other.

  3. Put your hands on your thighs.

  4. Bend forward from the hips and push your body up with your legs.

To sit down, use your leg muscles to lower yourself onto the front of the chair. Then use your leg muscles, not your arms, to scoot back.

Getting out of bed

When you get in and out of bed, keep your shoulders and hips in line.

Woman on side in bed, getting ready to stand up.Woman sitting at edge of bed getting ready to stand up.

To get out of bed:

  • Lie on your back and slowly scoot to the edge of the bed.

  • Bend your knees slightly and roll slowly onto your side.

  • Keep your upper arms close to the sides of your body. This can help avoid excess stress on your breastbone (sternum). Place your hands in front of the body and lean slightly forward.

  • Let your legs move slowly off the edge of the bed to the floor.

  • At the same time, as the legs gently swing to the floor, let the motion help raise your upper body to a sitting position.

  • Sit for a moment. This will help keep you from getting dizzy.

  • Put your hands on your thighs. Bend forward from the hips and push your body up with your legs.

  • Don't use your arms to push up.

To get into bed, do the reverse.

Before your discharge from the hospital, your healthcare provider will help you get in and out of the bed and stand up from a sitting position. They will teach you and others with you, family or friends, the proper technique for body alignment and movements to avoid, such as pulling to the side and twisting or pushing and pulling with your arms. When you go home, if possible, have someone there who knows how to do this for support and safety. Ask questions if you are unsure about what to do before you are discharged home.

Online Medical Reviewer: Mary Mancini MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ronald Karlin MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2022
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