Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)

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Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) is an operation to improve blood flow to the heart. CABG is recommended for people with blockages of the coronary arteries.

CABG surgery is usually performed by dividing the breastbone to expose the heart. Most commonly, a heart-lung machine is used during the operation. During surgery, your doctor will remove a vein from your leg and an artery from the inside of your chest. These will be used as the bypasses that provide additional blood flow to your heart muscle. Your doctor can describe the specifics of the operation based on your angiogram.

After the operation, you will wake up in the intensive care unit. During the first few days after surgery, you will be monitored closely, and may have drains coming out of your chest, which collect air and fluid. You may also have a temporary pacemaker. These are usually removed in a few days as you recover from surgery.

Most people are in the hospital less than a week after surgery, and are discharged home once they can perform the activities of daily living independently. Some people benefit from physical therapy and rehabilitation, which can be outpatient or inpatient after surgery. It can take 2-3 months to fully recover from surgery.

See also:
CAD
National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute
Society of Thoracic Surgeons - CABG Information
What to Expect After Heart Surgery - Society of Thoracic Surgeons