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
slide 1 of 5
    
slide 1 of 5, A coronary artery is narrowed or blocked,

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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slide 2 of 5, The sternum is cut,

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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slide 3 of 5, The heart is exposed,

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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slide 4 of 5, Blood flow is rerouted,

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
slide 5 of 5
    
slide 5 of 5, Oxygen-rich blood flows to heart muscle,

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 ofFebruary 20, 2015

Current as of: February 20, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

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