Coronary bypass surgery redirects blood around a section of a blocked or partially blocked artery in your heart. The procedure involves taking a healthy blood vessel from your leg, arm or chest and connecting it below and above the blocked arteries in your heart. With a new pathway, blood flow to the heart muscle improves.
Coronary bypass surgery doesn’t cure the heart disease that caused the blockages, such as atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease. However, it can ease symptoms, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. For some people, this procedure can improve heart function and reduce the risk of dying of heart disease.
Bypass is done for the following reasons:-
Coronary bypass surgery is one treatment option if you have a blocked artery to your heart.
You and your doctor might consider it if:
Even with coronary bypass surgery, you’ll need to make lifestyle changes after surgery. Medications are prescribed routinely after coronary bypass surgery to lower your blood cholesterol, reduce the risk of developing a blood clot and help your heart work as well as possible.
This is the most common type of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). It’s used when at least one major artery needs to be bypassed.
During the surgery, the chest bone is opened to access the heart. Medicines are given to stop the heart, and a heart-lung bypass machine is used to keep blood and oxygen moving throughout the body during surgery. This allows the surgeon to operate on a still heart.
After surgery, blood flow to the heart is restored. Usually, the heart starts beating again on its own. In some cases, mild electric shocks are used to restart the heart.
This type of CABG is similar to traditional CABG because the chest bone is opened to access the heart. However, the heart isn’t stopped, and a heart-lung bypass machine isn’t used. Off-pump CABG is sometimes called beating heart bypass grafting.
This surgery is similar to off-pump CABG. However, instead of a large incision (cut) to open the chest bone, several small incisions are made on the left side of the chest between the ribs.
This type of surgery mainly is used for bypassing the blood vessels in front of the heart. It’s a fairly new procedure that’s done less often than the other types of CABG.
This type of CABG isn’t for everybody, especially if more than one or two coronary arteries need to be bypassed.
To determine if you’re a candidate for CABG, your doctor will do a physical exam that involves checking your cardiovascular system, focusing on heart, lungs and pulse. Your doctor also will ask you about any symptoms you have, such as chest pain or shortness of breath, and how long, how often and how severe they are.
Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) requires a stay in a hospital. Procedure may vary depending on your condition and your doctor’s practices.
Generally, CABG Surgery follows this process:
Your doctor will give you specific instructions for recovering at home, especially concerning:
You also may get instructions on how to deal with common side effects from surgery. Side effects often go away within 4 to 6 weeks after surgery, but may include:
Full recovery from traditional CABG may take 6 to 12 weeks or more. Less recovery time is needed for nontraditional CABG.
Your doctor will tell you when you can start physical activity again. It varies from person to person, but there are some typical time frames. Most people can resume sexual activity within about 4 weeks and driving after 3 to 8 weeks.
Returning to work after 6 weeks is common unless your job involves specific and demanding physical activity. Some people may need to find less physically demanding types of work or work a reduced schedule at first.
A: CABG is performed only on patients with severe blockages in the large coronary arteries. Based on a number of factors, the doctor will decide if you are a candidate for CABG.
A: The ongoing care after CABG includes intermittent check-ups with doctors. Tests (EKG, stress testing, and echocardiogram) may be performed during these visits, to keep a check on the functioning of the heart.
A: Complications from coronary artery bypass grafting are quite uncommon, but the risk is a part of every surgical procedure. Possible risk includes wound infection and bleeding, adverse reactions to anesthesia, fever, pain, stroke, heart attack, or even death.
A: Yes, patients who have undergone a minimally invasive cardiac procedure are usually able to resume most or all of their normal within two to four weeks after their surgery.
A: 85% patients who undergo CABG experience significant reduction in symptoms and carry lesser risk of heart attacks in the future. Chance of dying in the next 10 years also comes down considerably. However, remember that CABG is not a cure for coronary artery disease.
A: At least 7 days. Your recovery will begin from the ICU for 1-2 days and 4-5 days of observation in the hospital before you are discharged.
A: Airlines have varying policies on flying safely after an open heart surgery or even after a minimally invasive surgery. Be aware of the flying safety rules of your airlines at least 3-4 weeks before you travel. You shouldn’t plan traveling for a long flight for at least 4 weeks after a CABG. Consult your doctor for a final opinion.
A: You may be able to return to work following a traditional CABG in 6-12 weeks. If you had a non-traditional, minimally invasive surgery, you can start in 4-6 weeks.
A: Yes, you will spend 1-2 days in the ICU before you are moved to the hospital floor.
A: It is performed by a team of experts led by a cardiothoracic surgeon.