What you should know about coronary artery bypass grafting surgery

Coronary artery bypass

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting sounds very complicated and is a bit of a mouthful, but can be explained in a rather simple manner. Let’s say, on your usual route to work, there is some road work happening that causes on-coming traffic to pile-up and come to a stand-still. The traffic police block this road and create an alternate route for vehicles to get around, and this helps you and other commuters get to work easily. This is essentially what a coronary bypass surgery is. During your bypass procedure, the diseased sections of your coronary arteries are bypassed with healthy artery or vein grafts to increase blood flow to the heart muscle tissue. Bypass typically requires open-chest surgery. However, there are several newer, less invasive techniques for bypass surgery that can be used instead of open-chest surgery, in some cases.

Not everyone with coronary artery disease needs bypass surgery. In some cases, an angioplasty procedure or even just lifestyle changes might be enough to treat heart diseases.

Bypass Surgery Risks

While the amount of time and number of bypasses required may differ due to the severity of the blockages, there are usually a few risks associated with a bypass surgery, such as heart attack, stroke, too much bleeding, etc.  Other risks include return of angina, problems from anesthesia and infections at the site of the chest incision. A few, particularly older people, suffer from memory loss and have trouble thinking clearly. However, these problems usually tend to improve over time.


In most cases, bypass surgery is an open-chest surgery. You'll receive anesthesia before the surgery. During the surgery, your chest will be open and your heart exposed. The surgeon removes a healthy blood vessel—often from the leg—and attaches (grafts) it to the blocked artery. The new blood vessel bypasses the blocked artery to increase blood flow to the heart. You may have to stay in the hospital for at least 3 to 8 days after the surgery, followed by 4 to 6 weeks of recovery time at home.

Advancements in Bypass Surgery

Recent advances in surgical techniques and equipment allow the surgeon to perform CABG in a less traumatic, "minimally invasive” manner. Minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS) may include a smaller incision or may avoid the use of a heart-lung machine, or both.  Pioneering work is also being done to develop techniques that will allow surgeons to perform beating-heart bypass procedures through "keyhole" incisions. This technique requires special equipment and the heart keeps on pumping blood for the body.

Life after Bypass Surgery

The success of a bypass surgery also depends on you. You will need to stop smoking, eat right and get regular exercise after your surgery. These changes will help your bypass grafts last and stay open longer. They will also give you the best chance of living a longer, healthier life. If you are taking medicines for angina, lowering cholesterol, or to control blood pressure, be sure to take these every day or as per your doctor’s prescription.

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting is a serious and life-altering procedure. If you find yourself having doubts and questions about the procedure, you can always book a Second Opinion Service on MediBuddy Infiniti and get an expert opinion from our team of world-class specialists. Read more.

It is also necessary to plan your bypass procedure in advance and make them cashless to help alleviate any inconvenience on the day of hospitalization. eCashless on MediBuddy helps you avail provisional pre-authorization for cashless hospitalization at your chosen network hospital ahead of the date of the procedure, in a quick and hassle-free manner. Learn more. And, if you happen to have your procedure at a non-network hospital, you can raise a reimbursement claim and track its status in real-time with MediBuddy. You can also search for hospitals within your insurer’s network and filter them by location, specialties, amenities, room types, etc., and pick one that best matches your needs. Learn more.

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