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What is Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)?
Coronary artery bypass graft or CABG is a surgical procedure whereby a surgeon takes a vein or artery from a patient's chest, leg or arm and grafts it on to the blocked artery. This results in normal blood flow to the heart muscles.
What types of surgery are available?
- Minimal Invasive Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
For some patients, minimal invasive coronary artery bypass surgery may be an option. During this surgery, smaller chest and graft removal incisions are used. This enhances the recovery rate and lessens the risk of infection.
- Off-pump Bypass Surgery
This is also know as 'beating heart surgery', and is carried out whilst the heart is still beating. The surgeon utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to stabilize sections of the heart and blocked artery, whilst the rest of the heart continues its normal function.
Duration of procedure/surgery : CABG surgery normally takes from 3 to 5 hours.
Days admitted : If your CABG surgery has been planned, you may be admitted into the hospital the morning or afternoon before your surgery. On average, the hospital stay after a coronary artery bypass surgery is between five to seven days.
Anesthesia : General anesthesia.
Recovery : Recovery time varies from person to person. However, normally, patients recovering from CABG surgery can take between 6 to 12 weeks. Less recovery time is required for minimal invasive heart surgery and off-pump heart surgery.
For the first four weeks, it is advisable not to drive. Strenuous activity should be avoided. Patients can resume normal sexual activity, but should refrain from positions that may put to much strain on the chest or upper arms. Normally, you may return to work around six weeks after recovery or sooner if your job is non-strenuous.
Risks : In general, the mortality connected to CABG is 3-4%. Heart attacks take place in 5-10% of patients, either before or after CABG surgery. And strokes account for 1-2% of cases, normally in elderly patients.
Mortality and various complications are heightened in the following cases:
- Age (70 years and older)
- Chronic lung disease and kidney failure
- Disease blocking the left main coronary artery
After care : The incision should be kept dry and clean and protected from bumps and scratches.
Swelling or aching in the legs may be experienced. Support stockings may need to be worn to help reduce the swelling. And walking daily will help improve circulation and lesson swelling.
The patient may also need to make lifestyle changes that may include: giving up smoking, weight control, dietary changes, participate in a monitored exercise program supervised by a professional, take prescribed medicine, follow-up visits to health care provider.
Learn more about CABG