Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG surgery) is one of the most common heart surgeries our cardiac surgeons perform. You may have heard people call this bypass surgery. Your doctor will recommend a CABG (pronounced like the vegetable "cabbage") when:
- Blood does not flow easily through the arteries of the heart
- Blood vessels narrow, reducing the flow of blood to the heart
Your heart surgeon may recommend CABG surgery because of life threatening blockages or because medication and/or lifestyle modifications, like diet or exercise, have not improved your risk of experiencing a heart attack.
Innovations with CABG surgery
At MedStar Heart Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, our heart surgeons perform half of these surgeries as "beating heart" surgeries, meaning they do not need to use the heart/lung bypass machine. Our groundbreaking research in this area reveals that performing the CABG surgery without using the heart/lung machine reduces the risks of:
- Blood transfusions
In fact, our research proves that for patients with two or three vessel disease (meaning two or three diseased arteries), CABG surgery is a better option than a drug-coated stent or drug-eluting stent, which used to be the "gold standard" of care for these patients.
The CABG procedure: What to expect
The CABG surgery creates alternate routes for blood to flow to the heart, bypassing the natural arteries. Instead of removing the blockages in the coronary arteries, your heart surgeon will use a vein from your chest or leg to construct detours around the blockages and into the heart. These grafts allow the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
Your heart surgeon will explain the procedure to you in further detail.
How long will it take to recover?
Patients may go home as early as three days after surgery. The average hospital stay following CABG surgery is five days.
The MedStar Heart Institute is the only place to go for heart surgery. Schedule an appointment or second opinion with one of our top surgeons or call 202-877-DOCS. Or order a free information kit about our cardiac surgery program.
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