As a result of coronary artery disease, the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart muscle become hardened and narrow. When medicine and lifestyle modification fail to improve symptoms, surgery may be recommended. In some cases, bypass procedures are recommended, especially if angioplasty or stents have failed to improve the patient. Coronary artery bypass surgery, also coronary artery bypass graft surgery and colloquially heart bypass, is a surgical procedure performed to relieve angina and reduce the risk of death from coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery bypass surgery is an open-heart procedure. Bypass refers to a “detour” of the blood around the blockage. The bypass is created using a section of vein from leg or artery in the chest or wrist. This procedure is done under general anesthesia and requires a breathing tube.
There are varied approaches to bypass surgery including minimally invasive techniques as well as off-pump procedures.
As an open-heart procedure, coronary artery bypass is a significant operation which requires a hospital stay. In the cardiac care unit, you will be under constant monitoring to assess your vitals and help ensure a speedy recovery.
After returning home from the hospital, you will receive a set of guidelines which allow you to gradually return your normal routine. It’s important to note that bypass surgery doesn’t eliminate the underlying cause of coronary artery disease. This means it’s important to lead a healthy lifestyle.