Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

What is a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft?

A coronary artery bypass graft is surgery to treat coronary artery disease. It allows blood to bypass narrowed or clogged parts of your arteries to improve blood flow to your heart.

CABG does not cure coronary heart disease (CHD) and atherosclerosis. It can ease symptoms, such as chest pain and shortness of breath, improve your heart function and reduce your risk of a heart attack.

During CABG, a healthy artery or vein from another part of your body (usually the chest, leg or arm), known as the graft, is attached to your coronary artery. One end of the graft is placed above the narrowed area or blockage in your artery and the other end below it. Blood then bypasses the blocked or narrowed part of your artery by flowing through your new healthy artery or vein to reach your heart.

You may need more than one graft depending upon the extent of your coronary heart disease and the number of coronary blood vessels that have become narrowed. These are known as a double, triple or quadruple bypass.

CABG is traditionally performed by open-heart surgery where a long cut is made in your chest to access your heart. On-pump coronary bypass surgery uses a heart-lung machine to keep your blood and oxygen flowing through your body. Off-pump or beating-heart surgery does not stop your heart during surgery.

Minimally invasive procedures are also available where your coronary bypass is performed through small cuts in your chest and often uses robotics and video imaging to help your surgeon operate in a small area.

Your surgeon will discuss the options with you in detail.

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