Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
In coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), UNC Medical Center surgeons create a path for blood to flow around blocked arteries to your heart. Doctors make the new path by taking a healthy blood vessel from your leg or another part of the body and grafting it to the blocked heart artery. Because this treatment restores the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, CABG can ease your chest pain or help prevent a heart attack.
Traditionally, surgeons stop your heart before the operation and use a heart-lung machine to keep your blood and oxygen flowing during surgery. Afterward, you’ll likely stay in the hospital for fewer than seven days. Your care team will decide if the traditional approach is best for you.
Off-Pump (Beating-Heart) CABG
UNC Medical Center performs about a third of CABG procedures off-pump, meaning surgeons stabilize part of the heart while it continues to beat and circulate blood. This approach carries a lower risk of complications and may be safer for you if you’re older or living with other health conditions.
Off-pump CABG requires an expert team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and physician assistants.
In most cases, you’ll return home within four to seven days.
Minimally Invasive ‘Keyhole’ Surgery
Your surgeon may use a minimally invasive technique – keyhole surgery – for CABG. Instead of dividing the breastbone, as in typical bypass surgery, the doctor makes small incisions on the right side of your chest and performs the operation through your ribs. You may need a heart-lung bypass machine, which takes over your heart’s pumping action while the surgeon works.
Recovery & Rehabilitation
When your doctor determines you’re ready, you’ll begin cardiac rehabilitation to renew your strength and endurance following surgery.