Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG surgery) is one of the most common heart surgeries MedStar Heart & Vascular cardiac surgeons perform. You may have heard people call this bypass surgery. Your doctor will recommend a CABG (pronounced like the vegetable cabbage) when blood does not flow easily through the arteries of the heart and/or blood vessels narrow, reducing the flow of blood to the heart.
Coronary artery bypass surgery creates alternate routes for blood to flow to the heart, bypassing the natural arteries. Instead of removing the blockages in the coronary arteries, your heart surgeon will use a vein from your chest or leg to construct detours around the blockages and into the heart. These grafts allow the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
At MedStar Hospitals, our heart surgeons perform half of these surgeries as beating-heart surgeries, meaning they do not need to use the heart/lung bypass machine. In beating-heart bypass surgery, the heart continues to beat naturally, eliminating the need for a heart/lung machine or pump. Prongs are placed on a specific area of the heart, stabilizing that area while allowing the heart to continue beating. Learn more here.