Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

What is Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting?
What is Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting?

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a surgical procedure aimed at improving blood flow to the heart, primarily used for individuals with severe coronary heart disease (CHD), also known as coronary artery disease.

CHD involves the buildup of plaque within the coronary arteries, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Plaque consists of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. When plaque narrows or blocks these arteries, it restricts blood flow to the heart muscle, potentially leading to symptoms such as angina (chest pain or discomfort), shortness of breath, and in severe cases, a heart attack.

During CABG, a healthy artery or vein from elsewhere in the body is grafted onto the blocked coronary artery, bypassing the obstruction and creating a new pathway for oxygen-rich blood to reach the heart muscle.

CABG is a common procedure in the United States, often performed by cardiothoracic surgeons. While it’s the most effective treatment for certain cases of CHD, not all individuals with CHD require CABG. Lifestyle changes, medications, and procedures like angioplasty with stent placement may suffice for some patients.

The goals of CABG include improving quality of life, reducing CHD symptoms, restoring an active lifestyle, enhancing heart function (especially after a heart attack), lowering the risk of future heart attacks, and improving survival rates. Repeat surgery may be necessary if grafts become blocked or new blockages develop.

Following CABG, most patients experience significant symptom improvement, reduced risk of future heart events, and enhanced long-term survival rates. Compliance with medication regimens and lifestyle modifications can help prevent graft blockages and maintain optimal heart health.