|What it is||What to expect||Make an appointment|
A coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is a surgical procedure that restores blood flow to the heart muscle. This is done by using blood vessels from other parts of the body to make a new route for blood to flow around blocked coronary (heart) arteries.
Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries. Cholesterol and fatty deposits build up on the walls of the arteries. This restricts blood flow causing decreased oxygen to the heart muscle. When the buildup happens in the heart, it may lead to chest pain, called angina, or heart attack. Lifestyle changes and medicines can be used to treat atherosclerosis. When the blockage gets too severe, CABG may be recommended to re-establish blood supply to the heart muscle. It is often done in cases of:
If you are planning to have a CABG, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications with heart surgery include:
Your doctor will likely do the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medication. You may need to stop taking certain medication for one week before surgery, such as:
Your doctor may also ask you to:
General anesthesia will be given. You will be asleep during the procedure.
Before you are brought to the operating room (OR), you will have IVs placed and your skin prepped. Once in the OR, a breathing tube will be placed in your throat and you will be put to sleep. Next, an incision will be made through the skin and the breastbone will be split to open the chest. You will be connected to a heart-lung machine. Since the heart needs to be stopped for the surgery, this machine will act as the heart and lungs.
An artery will likely be taken from the chest wall as well as a section of vein from the leg. These vessels will be used as the bypass grafts. Once the heart is stopped, they will be connected to the blocked arteries. Once the bypass grafts are completed, the heart will be allowed to "wake up" and the heart-lung machine will be disconnected. Temporary tubes will be placed in your chest to help drain any fluid. The chest will be closed and you will be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU).
You will be monitored in the ICU, where you will have the following interventions:
How Long Will It Take?
The surgery can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. You may be given medication for any pain during recovery. Pain levels vary from patient to patient.
Average Hospital Stay
The average stay is 3 to 6 days.
At the Hospital
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Every patient’s recovery can be different. You will need to shower, daily, with a mild soap. Ask your doctor when it is safe to take a bath or soak in water. You may find that there will be some areas of discomfort in the area of surgery that can last for several weeks. Also, it is common that you may feel tired for many weeks following this type of surgery.
You will be asked not to do any type of heavy lifting for two months that will cause pain at the surgical site. People with jobs requiring strong physical activity may require additional time before resuming those types of activities. Be sure to ask your doctor when you can drive and return to work.
When to Call Your Surgeon
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us. We’ll return your call the same day and can secure you an appointment with one of our doctors within the week.
Request an appointment online or call 617-789-2045.
Or call 617-789-2045
The answers you want.
Preparing for your visit:
Hear from our patients
Many patients who come to the Steward Center for Advanced Cardiac Surgery have a story to share about their care, recovery, and success after surgery or other treatments. Read about our patients’ experiences.
If you’d like to join our mailing list to receive more information, please provide your email address below.
Watch our videos
Click to access our library of videos on YouTube.