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Bypass Heart Surgery

Bypass Heart Surgery

Bypass heart surgery, also known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), is a surgical procedure performed to improve blood flow to the heart muscle. It involves creating new pathways, or bypasses, for blood to flow around blocked or narrowed coronary arteries.

Bypass Heart Surgery

During a coronary artery bypass surgery, the diseased sections of your coronary arteries are bypassed with healthy artery or vein grafts to increase blood flow to the heart muscle tissue. This procedure is also called coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Bypass typically requires open chest surgery.

Several newer, less invasive techniques for bypass surgery can be used instead of open-chest surgery in some cases. In some procedures, the heart is slowed with medicine but is still beating during the procedure. For these types of surgery, a heart-lung bypass machine is not needed. (For open-chest surgery, a heart-lung machine is needed to circulate the blood and to add oxygen to it.)

Other techniques use keyhole procedures or minimally invasive procedures instead of open-chest surgery. Keyhole procedures use several smaller openings in the chest and may or may not require a heart-lung machine.

Open-Chest Surgery

You’ll receive anaesthesia before the surgery which will make you sleep. In most cases, bypass surgery is called open-chest surgery. During the surgery, your chest will be open and your heart exposed. The surgeon makes a large cut, or incision, in the middle or side of your chest.

He or she may cut through your breastbone and spread apart your rib cage. The surgeon removes a healthy blood vessel-often from the leg-and attaches (grafts) it to the narrowed or blocked artery. The new blood vessel bypasses the diseased artery to increase blood flow to the heart. You may need just one bypass graft, or you may need more.

Some people have as many as two, three, or even four (double, triple, or quadruple bypass surgery). How many grafts you need depends on how many arteries are narrowed or blocked and where.

When the surgery is complete, the doctor may use wire to put your rib cage back together and stitches to close the incision. The surgery can take 3 to 6 hours. You will stay in the hospital for at least 3 to 8 days after the surgery. It can take 4 to 6 weeks to recover at home. Most people can return to work within 1 to 2 months after surgery.

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