Heart bypass surgery is a type of open heart surgery improving blood flow to the heart. It is done by redirecting blood around a blocked or partially blocked artery in the heart. Heart bypass surgery, which is also called coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), is the most effective procedure that prevents heart attack. The procedure is done when other options such as balloon angioplasty, or stent insertion cannot resolve the blood flow issue of blocked arteries.
In this procedure, the surgeon removes a blood vessel from other parts of the body such as chest, arms, or legs and connects it to blood vessels above and below the blocked artery to bypass the blockage. As the result, the blood will flow and reach the heart again more easily.
The patient is required to undergo tests such as electrocardiogram (EKG), stress test, angiography, chest CTs, and blood test. There are other issues that the patient should follow before the surgery:
The patient will be given an intravenous (IV) line for fluids and medicines that make him sleep before the surgery. Also, he will be connected to a ventilator supporting breathing.
The surgeon makes a cut down the middle of the chest, through the breastbone. The bone is split and the rib cage separated to let the surgeon reach the heart.
The patient receives medicines to temporarily stop the heart from beating. This makes it easier for the surgeon to connect the healthy blood vessels, called grafts, into the coronary arteries. The procedure requires a heart-lung bypass machine, which adds oxygen to the blood and pumps it throughout the body during the surgery while heart is not beating.
The surgeon will then take an artery or a vein from leg, arm, stomach, or chest. The graft is connected to the blocked coronary artery. The new blood vessel bypasses the blocked portion to create a new path for blood flow to the heart muscle.
When the grafting is finished, the surgeon will restart the heart and restore blood flow. The heart usually starts beating on its own, but sometimes mild shocks are used to start it. Surgeons will sew the breastbone back together with a wire. The patient should stay one or two nights at ICU.
If there are multiple blockages, the surgeon may do one or more bypass procedures during the same surgery.
Please note that there are alternatives to traditional CABG such as off-pump CABG which is done without stopping the heart and using a heart-lung bypass machine, or Minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass (MIDCAB) which is a modified version of CABG where the chest bone is not cut open.
Heart bypass surgery, which is also called coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), is the most effective procedure that prevents heart attack.
Chest pain, discomfort or itching from healing cuts, fatigue, mode swing, depression, bruising, feeling pain and fever are common problems occur after heart bypass surgery.
They should relieve from 2 to 6 weeks after leaving the hospital. If you had any severe pain after releasing from hospital, contact your doctor.