Coronary Bypass Surgery

By creating a new pathway to the heart, coronary bypass surgery improves blood flow to your heart muscle. During coronary bypass surgery, a healthy blood vessel is taken from your leg, arm or chest and connected to the other arteries in your heart so that blood bypasses the diseased or blocked area.

Coronary bypass surgery is a type of open-heart surgery used to treat one or more dangerous blockages in the heart arteries. If you have been recommended for, or have undergone, the surgery, it is because blockages in your heart arteries have been found to be restricting the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart. These blockages can cause symptoms such as chest pain (angina), fatigue, shortness of breath and nausea, among others. These blockages can also cause a heart attack or other damage to the heart muscle.

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What is CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting)

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a type of surgery that improves blood flow to the heart. Surgeons use CABG to treat people who have severe coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque (plak) builds up inside the coronary arteries.

During coronary artery bypass graft surgery (also called CABG), a blood vessel is removed or redirected from one area of the body and placed around the area or areas of narrowing to “bypass” the blockages and restore blood flow to the heart muscle. This vessel is called a graft.

The results of CABG usually are excellent. The surgery improves or completely relieves angina symptoms in most patients. Although symptoms can recur, many people remain symptom-free for as long as 10 to 15 years. CABG also may lower your risk of having a heart attack and help you live longer.

You may need repeat surgery if blockages form in the grafted arteries or veins or in arteries that weren’t blocked before. Taking medicines and making lifestyle changes as your doctor recommends can lower the risk of a graft becoming blocked.

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