A coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is a surgical procedure used to treat coronary heart disease.
It diverts blood around narrowed or clogged parts of the major arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart.
Why is it Carried Out?
Like all organs in the body, the heart needs a constant supply of blood. This is supplied by 2 large blood vessels called the left and right coronary arteries Over time, these arteries can become narrowed and hardened by the build-up of fatty deposits called plaques.
Your chances of developing coronary heart disease increase with age, you are also much more likely to be affected if:
- You smoke
- You’re overweight or obese
- You have a high-fat diet
Coronary heart disease can cause angina, which is chest pain that happens when the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart becomes restricted.
Another risk associated with coronary heart disease is the possibility of one of the plaques in the coronary artery rupturing (splitting), creating a blood clot. If the blood clot blocks the blood supply to the heart, it can trigger a heart attack. A coronary artery bypass graft may be recommended to reduce your chances of having a heart attack.
Procedure for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
A coronary artery bypass graft involves taking a blood vessel from another part of the body (usually the chest, leg, or arm) and attaching it to the coronary artery above and below the narrowed area or blockage. This new blood vessel is known as a graft. The number of grafts needed will depend on how severe your coronary heart disease is and how many of the coronary blood vessels are narrowed. A coronary artery bypass graft is carried out under general anesthetic, which means you’ll be unconscious during the operation. It usually takes between 3 and 6 hours.
Recovery After Surgery
Most people will need to stay in the hospital for about 6 to 8 days after having a coronary artery bypass graft. Recovery takes time and everyone recovers at slightly different speeds. Generally, you should be able to sit in a chair after 1 day, walk after 3 days, and walk up and down stairs after 5 or 6 days. When you go home, you’ll need to take things easy for a few weeks. You should be able to return to most of your normal activities after about 6 weeks.
After Treatment How to Take Care of Your Body
After having a coronary artery bypass graft, most people will experience a significant improvement in symptoms such as breathlessness and chest pain, and their heart attack risk will be lowered. But a coronary artery bypass graft isn’t a cure for coronary heart disease. If you don’t make lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, your grafted arteries will also eventually become hardened and narrowed.