What Is Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery?

Coronary artery bypass surgery or Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) is an open heart surgical procedure to improve the supply of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle.

Why Is CABG Performed?

CABG aims at replacing blocked or damaged arteries in a patient’s heart, caused by atherosclerosis (plaque build-up) in coronary arteries. This is achieved by bypassing (going around) the portion of the damaged/blocked artery to create a new path for blood rich in oxygen to reach the heart muscle.

An alternative to this surgery is angioplasty or Percutaneous Cardiac Intervention, which is a non-surgical procedure performed by using catheters and stents to open the blocked arteries.

CABG is recommended by a specialist over angioplasty when:

  • there are multiple blockages
  • blockages are located in places where the catheter cannot reach

Objective of CABG Surgery

  • To relieve Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) symptoms
  • To improve flow of oxygenated blood to the heart
  • Lowering the risk of heart attack
  • To improve patient’s survival rate

How Is It Done?

During the operation, a cardiologist or a heart surgeon will harvest a piece of the patient’s healthy blood vessel from his arm, chest, or leg. This healthy part of the healthy blood vessel is subsequently attached above and below the blocked/damaged area of the artery. Next, the blood flow is channelized via the bypass around the blocked section of the artery to the heart muscle.

What Can You Expect During CABG?

Usually, a week before operation, the following preadmission tests will be conducted:

  • Blood & Urine Tests
  • Electrocardiogram
  • X-ray

The doctor should check whether the patient:

  • Is allergic to iodine or contrast dye
  • Is suffering from asthma
  • Is allergic to any particular medication
  • Has any history of diabetes or kidney problems
  • Is under any medication
  • Is pregnant or suffering any health issues at the moment

Next, the doctor should explain the benefits and risks associated with the procedure. Accordingly, the patient would be requested to sign the consent form before proceeding with the surgery.

What Happens Post Surgery?

A patient will be kept in ICU to continuously track any change in health.

Hospital stay of up to one week may be recommended to check the patient’s recovery.

Post discharge, the patient would be advised to check with the doctor should any abnormal physical issues or irregular heartbeat occur.