Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
Coronary artery bypass surgery, also coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, and colloquially heart bypass or bypass surgery is a surgical procedure performed to relieve angina and reduce the risk of death from coronary artery disease.
Arteries or veins from elsewhere in the patient’s body are grafted to the coronary arteries to bypass atherosclerotic narrowings and improve the blood supply to the coronary circulation supplying the myocardium (heart muscle). This surgery is usually performed with the heart stopped, necessitating the usage of cardiopulmonary bypass; techniques are available to perform CABG on a beating heart, so-called “off-pump” surgery….
If you have coronary artery disease (CAD), the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. If lifestyle changes and medicines don’t help, your doctor may recommend coronary artery bypass surgery.
The surgery uses a piece of a vein from the leg or artery from the chest or wrist. The surgeon attaches this to the coronary artery above and below the narrowed area or blockage. This allows blood to bypass the blockage. Some people need more than one bypass.
You may need bypass surgery for various reasons. Another procedure for CAD, angioplasty, may not have widened the artery enough. In some cases, the angioplasty tube can’t reach the blockage….
What happens after bypass surgery?
After surgery, the patient is moved to a hospital bed in the cardiac surgical intensive care unit. Heart rate and blood pressure monitoring devices continuously monitor the patient for 12 to 24 hours. Family members can visit periodically. Medications that regulate circulation and blood pressure may be given through the I.V. (intravenously). A breathing tube (endotracheal tube) will stay in place until the physicians are confident that the patient is awake and ready to breathe comfortably on his or her own.
The patient may feel groggy and disoriented, and sites of incisions – both the chest and the leg, if a segment of blood vessel was taken from the leg – may be sore. Painkillers are given as needed…
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