Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart Bypass Surgery is also known as Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG). Coronary bypass surgery or Heart Bypass Surgery reroutes blood around a portion of a coronary artery that is completely or partially clogged. A healthy blood vessel is taken from the leg, arm, or chest and connected below and above the blocked arteries in the heart during the procedure. Heart bypass surgery helps in reducing the risk of heart attack and other problems. Once you recover, you will feel better and can return to normal life activities.

What is Heart Bypass Surgery?

Heart Bypass Surgery or Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is a procedure that improves blood supply to the heart. A surgeon uses blood vessels taken from another area of ​​your body to bypass damaged arteries. This surgery is done when the coronary arteries become blocked or damaged. Your heart receives oxygenated blood through these vessels. If these arteries are blocked or blood flow is restricted, the heart does not work properly. This can lead to heart failure.

Types of Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart bypass surgery is typically open heart surgery, which means that the surgeon opens the chest to reach the heart. The surgeon can then perform "pump" or "off-pump" surgery.

  • Pump surgery involves the use of a heart-lung machine that circulates blood and breathes through the body. Doctors may use the mechanism to interrupt the heart, making the surgery simpler.
  • Off-pump surgery, also known as "beating heart surgery," is performed without the use of a heart-lung machine while the heart is still beating.

Sometimes a surgeon can perform heart bypass surgery without opening the chest.

Purpose of Heart Bypass Surgery

Bypass surgery treats the symptoms of coronary artery disease. If you have either of the following conditions, your doctor may recommend you for cardiac bypass surgery:

  • If you have severe chest pain because several of the arteries that supply blood to the heart are blocked.
  • If there is a blockage in the left main coronary artery that gives the left ventricle most of its blood.
  • If you have had other procedures and they have not worked or your artery has narrowed again.
  • If coronary artery disease is the cause of a heart attack it can form a blood clot and prevent the flow of blood. Bypass surgery can significantly improve your health.

Heart Bypass Surgery Procedure

Before surgery, you will receive IV medications, fluids, and anesthesia. When the anesthesia starts getting into effect, you may fall asleep.

The First Step

Your surgeon begins by making an incision in the middle of the chest. The rib cage is then detached to expose the heart. Minimally invasive surgery, which uses smaller incisions, special miniaturized equipment, and robotic procedures, may be an option for your surgeon.

Connection to Heart-Lung Machine

You may be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine that circulates oxygenated blood through your body while your surgeon operates on your heart. Some procedures are done "off the pump," which means you don't need to be hooked up to a heart-lung machine.


Your surgeon then removes a healthy blood vessel from your leg to bypass the blocked or damaged part of your artery. The graft is connected with one end above the blockage and the other below.

The Final Steps

When your surgeon has finished, the function of the shunt will be checked. Once the shunt is working, you will be stitched, bandaged, and taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) for monitoring.

coronary artery bypass graft

Recovery Time After a Heart Bypass Surgery

After you wake up, a health care expert will assist you to breathe by inserting a tube down your throat. On average, a person will stay in the hospital for about a week after surgery. It is normal to experience pain and night sweats, and there is likely some fluid in the lungs, so people may expect little cough. People usually start eating and moving soon after the doctor has removed the breathing tube. Common post-surgery medications include platelet inhibitors, which help prevent blood clots

Complications of Heart Bypass Surgery

Risk of bleeding at the attached graft site and other sources. About 30 percent of patients will need blood transfusions after surgery. In rare cases, the bleeding will be severe enough to require additional surgery.

Atrial fibrillation (a condition in which the upper chambers of the heart tremble instead of beating properly) is a common complication of coronary bypass surgery and can contribute to blood clots in the heart that can travel to other body parts. Other forms of heart rhythm problems are also possible.

Blood clots can cause heart attack, stroke, or lung complications if they develop.

The incision site can become infected. This is a rare complication that affects about 1% of people who have had a coronary bypass.

Coronary bypass surgery can damage the functioning of a patient's kidneys, although it is usually temporary.


The best option for repairing blocked arteries for hundreds of patients each year is cardiac bypass surgery. Heart bypass surgery is safe and effective and can help people regain the quality of life they experienced before developing the heart condition.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does heart bypass surgery take?

General anesthesia is required for coronary bypass surgery, which takes three to six hours. The number of shunts you need depends on the part of your heart and the severity of your blockages. The duration of the process is determined by all of these factors.

2. Why is heart bypass surgery necessary?

Coronary bypass surgery is a treatment option if you have a blocked artery in your heart. You might also need this surgery if you have severe chest pain caused by the narrowing of several arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, leaving the muscle without blood even during light exercise or at rest.

3. Can heart bypass surgery cause memory loss?

Memory problems and other processing deficits affect more than half of the patients who have cardiac bypass surgery right after the procedure. These concerns usually vanish within a few weeks or months.

4. Can heart bypass surgery be avoided?

According to the results of a 10-year nationwide study, a large number of patients who undergo coronary bypass surgery could successfully delay the treatment, if not prevent it entirely.

5. What Causes Heart Bypass Surgery?

Coronary artery bypass surgery is used to treat a blockage or narrowing of one or more coronary arteries, allowing blood to circulate easily again to the heart muscle.

6. When is heart bypass surgery necessary?

Your doctor may recommend heart bypass surgery if your coronary arteries become so narrow or blocked that you are at high risk for a heart attack.

7. Can I survive without heart bypass?

It depends on your overall health and which arteries need to be bypassed. Some people may benefit from surgery in order to live longer.

8. How painful is bypass surgery?

For the first few weeks after surgery, you may feel fatigued and uncomfortable. On either side of your chest, you may experience some intense aches. It's possible that your chest, shoulders, and upper back may ache.

9. Who is not a candidate for bypass surgery?

If you have any of the following, you may not be a good candidate: Aneurysm, cardiac valve disease, or blood illness are examples of pre-existing conditions.

10. Is coronary artery bypass graft safe for diabetics?

CABG is a risk-free procedure for diabetic patients. They benefit from symptomatic alleviation of angina, but they have higher risk of long-term heart morbidity. They should work closely with their diabetologist before the surgery.

11. What are the precautions to be taken after the surgery?

After the CABG surgery, there are some precautions to consider.

  • Regular Spirometry
  • Avoid bending down to the level of the floor.
  • Avoid lifting anything heavy
  • Avoid riding a bike, a bicycle, a scooter, or a car.
  • Increase your intake of regular home-made food.
  • Stop smoking and consuming alcohol.
  • 12. Are there any dietary restrictions after the CABG surgery?

    After the surgery, eating healthy foods can help your body recover, heal your wound, and prevent constipation. Stick to whole foods like fiber-rich vegetables and fruits, lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.