Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is surgery to treat coronary
artery disease. The surgery helps blood make a detour, or bypass, around one or
more narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that
bring blood to the heart. This surgery is also called coronary artery bypass or
Your doctor will create a bypass using a healthy
piece of blood vessel from another part of your body. Your doctor will attach,
or graft, the healthy blood vessel both above and below the narrowed or blocked part of
The doctor will make a cut in the skin
over your breastbone (sternum). This cut is called an incision. Then the doctor will cut through your sternum
to reach your heart and coronary arteries. The doctor may connect you to a
heart-lung bypass machine. It adds oxygen to the blood and moves
the blood through the body. This machine will allow the doctor to stop your
heartbeat while he or she works on your arteries. The doctor will use blood
vessels from your chest, arm, or leg to bypass the narrowed or blocked parts of your
arteries. When the blood vessels are in place, the doctor will restart your
heart. In some cases, the doctor may be able to do the operation without using
a heart-lung machine. This is called "off-pump" surgery.
doctor will use wire to put your sternum back together, and stitches or staples
to close the incisions in the skin over your sternum and where your healthy
blood vessel was taken. The wire will stay in your chest. The incisions will
leave scars that may become less noticeable with time.
stay in the hospital for 3 to 8 days after surgery. You will probably be able
to do many of your usual activities after 4 to 6 weeks. But for 2 to 3 months
you will not be able to lift heavy objects or do activities that strain your
chest or upper arm muscles. At first you may notice that you get tired easily
and need to rest often. It may take 1 to 2 months before your energy is back to
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and
call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your
test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Having surgery can be
stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect and
how to safely prepare for surgery.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of:
January 27, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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