Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), also known as "open heart" and "bypass" surgery, restores blood flow to blocked arteries of the heart.

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Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Blocked coronary arteries cut off blood flow to the heart causing heart attacks or heart attack-like symptoms.

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), also known as bypass surgery or open heart surgery, is a procedure to restore blood flow to areas of your heart.

CABG restores blood flow by using blood vessels from other parts of the body to create a detour around blockages... A "bypass".

The surgery

  • Vessels that create the bypasses are "harvested" from the leg, arm, or chest. This means that there will also be surgical incisions in the areas from where vessels were taken. (This is pre-determined and will be explained before surgery.)

  • The breast bone is cut through and retracted (pulled back) to expose the heart (which is actually in the center of the chest, not on the left side of the chest).

  • Surgery usually takes 3 to 6 hours, depending on the number of arteries involved and barring any complications.

  • Following surgery, the breast bone is rejoined, usually by sewing it together with wires. The overlying skin is stapled closed. The surgical incision is significant, about 8-10 inches long.

  • There may also be 2 to 3 smaller incisions (around half an inch) below the large incision, across the upper belly.

Hospital stay

Expect your loved one to spend 1 to 2 days in an intensive care unit before moving to a cardiac step-down unit for the remainder of their stay. The length of their entire hospital stay depends on how well they recover and if there are complications. The average hospital stay for people who have coronary artery bypass surgery is 5-7 days.

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