Coronary Heart Bypass (CABG)
About Heart Bypass Surgery
The coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is more commonly referred to as heart bypass surgery and is performed on patients who have a high mortality risk from coronary artery disease. Patients experiencing chest pain or who have just had a heart attack are prime candidates for this medical procedure. When a patient's arteries become clogged, with fat, cholesterol, or another material, the blood flow to the heart is drastically slowed down. Doctors will perform heart bypass surgery in order to unclog one or more of the arteries so that blood flow to the heart will increase, thereby reducing one's chest pain or risk for a heart attack.
The coronary artery bypass surgery was a groundbreaking procedure that was first completed by a team of doctors in the United States in 1960. The terminology for types of bypass surgery ranges from quintuple bypass, quadruple bypass, triple bypass, double bypass to single bypass. These terms are commonly used to refer to the number of arteries that need to be unclogged. While a single bypass refers to only one artery, a quintuple bypass refers to a total of five arteries. The patient is always informed of the number of arteries that are blocked before surgery, but in some cases it is not until the doctor actually sees the heart that the final decision is made regarding the number of arteries that need to be improved.
Heart Bypass Procedure
The actual coronary artery bypass surgery is not very complicated to understand. Surgeons take a piece from a healthy blood vessel and create a sort of detour around the blocked area in order for blood to flow more smoothly. Recently surgeons prefer to perform the coronary artery bypass graft surgery while the heart is still beating, which is called off-pump bypass surgery (OPCABG). Surgeons have found that by opting not to use the heart-lunch machine during the surgery, there is less bleeding during the procedure and less need for a blood transfusion.
Heart Bypass Recovery
Post heart bypass surgery, patients are admitted to the intensive care unit and closely monitored. On average patients will remain in the hospital for four to six days as they will be feeling disoriented. Once discharged from the hospital patients must undergo a strict cardiac rehabilitation regime in order to regain strength. Patients should also focus on eating healthier, including lowering their intake of cholesterol and saturated fat. The most successful results in heart bypass surgery are for those who continued their rehabilitation program and eating healthy for life.