Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a procedure to bypass or fix arteries
of the heart (coronary arteries) that have become narrow or blocked. This narrowing
is usually the result of a buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) in the walls of the
vessels. The coronary arteries supply the heart with the oxygen and nutrients that
it needs to pump blood to your body.
In this procedure, a section of blood vessel from another part of the body (usually
the chest, arm, or leg) is removed (harvested) and then inserted where it will allow
blood to bypass the damaged part of the coronary artery. The harvested section of
blood vessel is called the graft.
What to Expect During Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Surgery
- To reduce your risk of infection:
- Your health care team will wash or sanitize their hands.
- Your skin will be washed with soap.
- Hair may be removed from the surgical area.
- An IV tube will be inserted into one of your veins.
- You will be given one or more of the following:
- A medicine to help you relax (sedative)
- A medicine to make you fall asleep (general anesthetic)
- A cut (incision) will be made down the front of the chest through the breastbone
(sternum). The sternum will be spread open so your heart can be seen.
- You will be placed on a heart-lung bypass machine. This machine will provide oxygen
to your blood while the heart is undergoing surgery. Your surgeon may be able to
do the surgery without the heart-lung bypass machine. That is called beating heart
- If a heart-lung bypass machine is needed, your heart will be temporarily stopped.
- A section of blood vessel will be harvested from another part of your body (usually
the chest, arm, or leg) and used to bypass the blocked arteries of your heart.
- When the bypass is done, you will be taken off the heart-lung machine if it was
- If your heart was stopped, it will be restarted and will take over again normally.
- Your chest will be closed.
- A bandage (dressing) will be placed over the incisions.
- Tubes will remain in your chest and will be connected to a suction device to help
drain fluid and reinflate the lungs.
Recovering from Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Surgery
Recovery from open-heart surgery typically takes six to twelve weeks. During this
time you should expect to take some down time from your normal activities and work
and will need extra assistance from others. Your recovery plan will be tailored
to your individual needs, but you can generally expect:
- A prescription for medicine to help control the pain, so you can relax and heal
- Instructions on how to care for your incision site, such as how to dress and cover
the wound, and how to bathe while it heals
- Education on how to follow a heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and
vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and whole grains; you may need to avoid
foods that are high in salt, cholesterol and saturated fats
- The opportunity to attend regular cardiovascular rehabilitation once you are ready
to return to physical activity
Your surgeon will speak with you about your recovery and any related restrictions before you leave the hospital.
Why Choose UF Health for Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting surgery?
At UF Health each patient is assessed by a team of surgeons and cardiologists to
create a customized, effective treatment plan. The cardiothoracic surgeons at UF
Health provide more treatment options than other facilities in the region which
often means better outcomes for cardiovascular patients.
For CABG surgery, UF Health cardiothoracic surgeons routinely utilize rigid fixation
which leads to less pain and quicker recovery. They also consistently perform multi-arterial
revascularization which leads to improved long term survival.
No other heart program in our region is as complete and as dedicated to superior
patient care utilizing a heart team approach to obtain the best patient outcomes.
Video: Low Profile Anatomic Plates