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Coronary artery bypass surgery for coronary artery disease

A coronary artery is narrowed or blocked

Heart, with detail of coronary artery narrowed by plaque
slide 1 of 5
    
slide 1 of 5, A coronary artery is narrowed or blocked,

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery reroutes blood around narrowed or blocked arteries, increasing blood flow to the heart muscle tissue.

Incision in the middle of the chest for open-heart surgery

Location of incision in chest
slide 2 of 5
    
slide 2 of 5, Incision in the middle of the chest for open-heart surgery ,

Bypass surgery is most often done as an open-heart surgery. The surgeon makes a vertical incision in the skin and muscle in the middle of the chest and then cuts through the breastbone (sternum).

The heart is exposed

Retractor exposing the heart in the chest
slide 3 of 5
    
slide 3 of 5, The heart is exposed,

The surgeon spreads the rib cage with a retractor to expose the heart and then cuts through the lining that protects the heart (pericardium).

Blood flow is rerouted

Location of saphenous vein in leg, and heart showing saphenous vein and an internal mammary artery used to bypass the diseased coronary artery
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slide 4 of 5, Blood flow is rerouted,

To reroute blood flow around the diseased blood vessel, surgeons use a blood vessel taken from another part of your body. For example, the saphenous vein from the leg or an internal mammary artery from the chest may be used.

Oxygen-rich blood flows to heart muscle

Decreased blood flow caused by narrowed or blocked artery before surgery and improved blood flow after surgery
slide 5 of 5
    
slide 5 of 5, Oxygen-rich blood flows to heart muscle,

Regardless of which type of blood vessel is used, oxygen-rich blood from the aorta is rerouted around the narrowed or blocked section of the coronary artery to improve blood flow to the heart muscle.

Current as of: December 2, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
David C. Stuesse MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
Kara C. Taggart MD - Urology

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