Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery for Coronary Artery Disease

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A coronary artery is narrowed or blocked
Picture of blockage in the coronary arteries
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Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery reroutes blood around narrowed or blocked arteries, increasing blood flow to the heart muscle tissue.

The sternum is cut
Picture of a vertical incision in the chest
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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
Picture of the surgical site exposed with a rib-spreader
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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
Picture of blood vessels that can be used to reroute blood flow
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To reroute blood flow around the diseased blood vessel, surgeons typically use a portion of the saphenous vein in the leg or an internal mammary artery.

Oxygen-rich blood flows to heart muscle
Picture of normalized blood flow rerouted around blocked coronary artery
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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 feed the heart muscle.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology

Current as ofAugust 13, 2014

Current as of: August 13, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology