The doctors and staff at Apollo hospitals are pleased that you are considering us for your Coronary artery bypass surgery. We would like to take the time to briefly discuss the process of undergoing Coronary artery bypass surgery. Your physician has discussed the indications for surgery and the criteria that must be met prior to your Coronary artery bypass surgery. This information is designed to offer additional information on your preparation before surgery, the surgery itself, and the road to recovery after your procedure.

What is a CABG or Bypass surgery?

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) is a surgery that enhances blood flow to the heart through the coronary arteries. It is indicated for people who suffer from severe Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) also called Coronary Artery Disease.

CHD is a disorder in which an component called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Plaque can narrow or block the coronary arteries and reduce blood flow to the heart muscle. If the blockage is severe, angina, shortness of breath, and, in some cases, heart attack can occur. The term Angina refers to chest pain or discomfort due to lack of optimal flow of blood to the heart muscle.

CABG is one treatment for CHD. During CABG, a healthy artery or vein from your body is connected or grafted to the blocked coronary artery. The grafted artery or vein bypasses (that is, goes around) the blocked portion of the coronary artery. This creates a new passageway and oxygen-rich blood is channelled around the blockage to the heart muscle.

Why is CABG done?

Your doctor will talk to you whether coronary bypass surgery or an alternative artery-opening procedure such as Angioplasty or stenting, is right for you.

Coronary bypass surgery is an option if:

  • You have severe chest pain caused by narrowing of several of the arteries that supply your heart muscle, leaving the muscle short of blood during even light exercise or at rest. Sometimes Angioplasty and stenting will help, but for some types of blockages, coronary bypass surgery may be the best option.
  • You have more than one diseased coronary artery and the heart’s main pumping chamber, which is the left ventricle, isn’t functioning well.
  • Your left main coronary artery is severely narrowed or blocked. This artery supplies most of the blood to the left ventricle.
  • You have an existing blockage for which angioplasty is not suitable, you have had a previous angioplasty or stent placement that hasn’t been successful, or you’ve had stent placement, but the artery has narrowed again (restenosis).
  • Coronary bypass surgery may also be performed in emergency situations, such as a heart attack, if your doctor sees that you’re not responding to other treatments.

The surgery does not treat the principal heart disease that produced blockages in the first instance. So, even if you undergo a coronary bypass surgery, changes in lifestyle are still a necessary part of management after surgery. Medications are routine after the surgery to lower your blood cholesterol, ease the risk of developing a blood clot and help your heart function as well as possible.