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Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart bypass surgery, also known as Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG), is an open-heart surgical procedure performed to improve blood flow to a person’s heart. During the procedure, the cardiothoracic surgeon uses blood vessels taken from another area of the patient’s body to bypass the damaged arteries.

The goal of CABG is to treat blockage or damage to the coronary arteries (coronary artery disease), which supply oxygenated blood to the heart, after other minimally invasive treatment options like medication and stent have failed. If clogged or narrowed arteries are left untreated, then then there is a high risk of a heart attack, which can be fatal.

Types of Heart Bypass Surgery

  • Single bypass: This is performed when only one artery is blocked
  • Double bypass: Performed when two arteries are blocked
  • Triple bypass: Performed when three arteries are blocked
  • Quadruple bypass: Performed when four arteries are blocked

Possible Risks of Heart Bypass Surgery

Just like any other medical procedure, heart bypass surgery also comes with possible risks and complications afterwards. These may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Infection
  • Heart attack
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Arrhythmia

Preparations for Heart Bypass Surgery

Before the procedure, the patient is normally issued with instructions of what he/she should do to minimise possible risks and complications.

The patient will also have multiple preoperative appointments where the doctor shall inquire about his/her general health, family medical history, and overall lifestyle. However, this will only happen if the operation is planned in advance and is not an emergency procedure.

Several tests may also be recommended to enable the doctor to get a clear picture of the patient’s health. The tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-rays
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Angiogram

After the Procedure

The patient may experience some degree of pain/discomfort or other side effects of the procedure which include:

  • Pain with deep breaths
  • Pain with coughing
  • Pain at the incision site