Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a surgical procedure that improves blood flow to the heart. During the procedure, a healthy artery or vein from the body is connected, or grafted, to the blocked coronary artery. The grafted artery or vein bypasses the blocked portion of the coronary artery, creating a new path for oxygen-rich blood to flow to the heart muscle.
Surgeons can bypass multiple coronary arteries during one surgery. The results of CABG usually are excellent, improving or completely relieving chest pains and other discomfort that happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Although symptoms can recur, many people remain symptom-free for 10 to 15 years. CABG also may lower your risk of having a heart attack.
What to expect
CABG requires a team of experts. A cardiothoracic surgeon will do the surgery with support from a team including an anesthesiologist, other surgeons, and nurses. Traditional CABG usually lasts 3–6 hours, depending on the number of arteries being bypassed. You’ll be under general anesthesia during the surgery.
Your stay will start off in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Your health care team will check your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels regularly during this time. After you leave the ICU, you'll be moved to less-intensive level of care in a nursing unit elsewhere in the hospital before going home.
Recovery at home may take 6–12 weeks or more, and your doctor will give you instructions and also refer you to cardiac rehabilitation.
For more on CABG, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.