Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery

Coronary bypass surgery is performed on people who have coronary heart disease or angina.

What is a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery?

Coronary bypass surgery is performed on people who have coronary heart disease or angina. The aim of the surgery is to improve blood flow in and around the heart by removing blood vessels from other parts of your body like leg, chest or arm and placing it in your heart. The new blood vessel will divert blood flow and oxygen from the clogged and narrowed and back through the newly inserted blood vessel. The overall goal of this surgical procedure if to relieve the symptoms like chest pain and improve the your way of life.

Complications may occur during this procedure and it is never without any risks, some of the common risks that may be experienced are:

  • Bleeding

  • Infection of the wound

  • Arrhythmias

  • Memory loss and brain related problems

  • Stroke

  • Heart attack

  • Kidney problems

Risks are generally low and it differs from each patient situation. The risks may be higher depending on age, other health issues and even weight, along with other important aspects. Your surgeon will highlight the risks to you in a consultation before the procedure.

There are two ways of performing a coronary artery bypass, open heart or minimally invasive. Here at LC&VA our cardiothoracic surgeon Mr Ranjit Deshpande specialises in minimally invasive heart surgery. Minimally invasive methods carry a lot less risks of infection and bleeding, have a quicker recovery time and are more cosmetically appealing.

The procedure will be performed under general anaesthetic which means the patient will be asleep. This type of surgery may take 3-6 or more hours depending on how many bypasses are performed.

Blood vessels will need to be taken from other parts of your body to perform the bypass surgery. They can be taken from your internal mammary arteries (chest), radial arteries (arm) or greater saphenous veins (leg). They are taken from these specific areas because other arteries in the same area can compensate for the loss. You may need 2, 3 or 4 grafts depending on how many coronary arteries have become narrowed and clogged.

Traditional bypass surgeries are performed by the surgeon cutting down the centre of the chest and divide your breast bone (sternum) to access the heart. Minimally invasive methods are performed through small incisions in the chest with no need to cut the sternum, it is carried out using robotics and video imaging.

A heart-lung bypass machine will circulate the blood and oxygen around your body during the operation. Once the heart has been accessed your surgeon will use the healthy blood vessel previously taken from your arm or leg and attach the ends above and below the blocked artery, rerouting the blood flow into the healthy blood vessel. The surgeon will then restore your heartbeat and close the wounds.

There are other ways to perform this operation. As mentioned, it can be done as a minimally invasive method and also an off-pump or beating heart surgery method.

After surgery, you will be moved to an intensive care unit and closely monitored. Post-operative recovery will begin and you will be talked through rehabilitation.

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Healthy Living

Keeping your heart healthy involves maintaining an active lifestyle and identifying any potentially dangerous heart problems before they become more severe.