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Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)

What is a Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting?

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) is a surgery that enhances blood flow to the heart by creating a bypass around the blocked or narrowed artery. CABG is performed to treat patient suffering from severe Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) also known as Coronary Artery Disease. CHD is a disorder in which fatty substances (plaque) builds up in the walls of arteries, thus causing partial or complete blockage of coronary arteries which further restricts the supply of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the heart.

Why is it done?

Your doctor may recommend CABG for blocked or narrowed artery to your heart if you have:

  • Severe chest pain due to narrowing of several arteries even during light exercise or at rest.
  • More than one diseased coronary artery and the left ventricle is not functioning properly (main pumping chamber of heart).
  • Severely narrowed or blocked left main coronary artery that supplies most of the blood to the left ventricle.
  • An existing blockage for which angioplasty is not suitable or previously underwent angioplasty or stent placement was not successful, or underwent stent placement but again the artery has narrowed (restenosis).
  • In some cases, CABG is performed in emergency situations, such as a heart attack when you are not responding to any other treatments.

What happens during the procedure?

The surgery will be performed under general anaesthesia. Your surgeon will cut down the center of the chest along with the chest bone. Rib cage will be opened to access the heart. A section of healthy blood vessel will be taken which is often from inside the chest wall (the internal mammary artery) or from your lower leg. It is then attached to the coronary artery around the blocked area of the artery to bypass the obstruction. The number of bypasses required will depend upon the location and severity of blockages in your heart.

How long will it take?

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting usually takes around 3 – 6 hours, depending upon your condition.

What happens after the procedure?

Post-surgery, you will be monitored in the intensive care unit for one to three days. When your condition has improved, you will be transferred to a cardiac care unit. You will be put on a pain management medication. Based on your recovery, discharge from the hospital is usually planned within eight days. Even after you have left the hospital, you may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks, or even walk a short distance. It will take approximately six to twelve weeks to recover.

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How do I prepare for CABG?

  • You will undergo pre-surgery investigations such X-rays, blood tests, an electrocardiogram and a coronary angiogram.
  • Inform your doctor about all the medications you are taking.
  • Follow fasting instructions or any other instructions given by your doctor before surgery.
  • It is advised that you are accompanied by someone from your family during your hospital stay and at home during your recovery period.

After surgery, how do I take care of myself at home?

  • Keep incision area clean and dry.
  • Arrange for help at home.
  • Wear loose and comfortable cloth.
  • Do not lift heavy things.
  • Driving is not recommended for about 6 weeks or as advised by your doctor.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice on routine activities, diet and lifestyle etc.

What are the signs I should watch for after CABG?

You should get in touch with the hospital or your doctor if:

  • You have high fever.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Severe pain around your chest wound.
  • Reddening around incision site or any bleeding or discharge from incision site.

UPDATED ON 14/05/2024

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