Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Heart bypass surgery

Table of Contents


Heart bypass surgery creates a new route, called a bypass, for blood and oxygen to reach your heart.

See also:

  • Heart bypass surgery - minimally invasive
  • Angioplasty and stent placement

Alternative Names

Off-pump coronary artery bypass; OPCAB; Beating heart surgery; Bypass surgery - heart; CABG; Coronary artery bypass graft; Coronary artery bypass surgery; Coronary bypass surgery


Before your surgery you will receive general anesthesia. You will be deep asleep (unconscious) and pain-free during surgery.

Once you are unconscious, the heart surgeon will make a 10-inch surgical cut (incision) in the middle of your chest. Your breastbone will be separated to create an opening so your surgeon can see your heart and aorta, the main blood vessel leading from the heart to the rest of your body.

Most people who have coronary bypass surgery are connected to a heart-lung bypass machine, or bypass pump.

  • Your heart is stopped while you are connected to this machine.
  • This machine does the work of your heart while your heart is stopped for the surgery. The machine adds oxygen to your blood, and moves your blood through your body.

A newer type of bypass surgery does not use the heart-lung bypass machine. The bypass is created while your heart is still beating. This is called off-pump coronary artery bypass, or OPCAB. This procedure may be used if you could have problems while on the heart-lung machine.

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Review Date: 06/02/2010
Reviewed By: Shabir Bhimji MD, PhD, Specializing in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland , TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (