Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
What it’s for
Like any other muscle in your body, heart requires blood in order to work. It gets the blood it needs from the coronary arteries.
A coronary artery bypass graft, or bypass surgery, is for patients who have blockages or severe narrowing in the arteries that supply the heart. A blood vessel is taken from another part of ther body and is used to go around—or bypass—the blocked artery. This restores blood flow to the heart muscle that otherwise was deprived of it.
If there are one or two blockages, one may be treated with angioplasty and the placement of stents. Patients who have more blockages are typically treated with coronary artery bypass grafts.
How it’s done
A coronary artery bypass graft is major surgery that requires general anesthesia. The surgery takes from 4-8 hours.
An incision is made down the front of the chest. The chest is then opened up to expose the heart. At this point, the heart is temporarily stopped while a heart lung machine takes over the task of circulating blood through your body.
A healthy section of blood vessel is taken from another part of your body, typically from the leg or from inside the chest wall. This blood vessel is then attached—or grafted—on to the coronary artery, bypassing the blockage and restoring blood flow.
After the grafts are completed, the heart lung machine is turned off and the heart goes back to pumping normally. The incision is then closed.
More skillful surgeons are increasingly resorting to Beating Heart CABG surgery wherein the graft is put without the use of the Heart Lung machine.
Patients who have bypass surgery typically stay in the ICU for one or two days, and then in a step-down unit for 3-5 more days.
There are several risks of coronary artery bypass surgery. They include the following:
· Internal bleeding
· Kidney failure
· Need for repeat surgery
· Heart rhythm problems
· Memory loss