Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

If one or more of your coronary arteries (the vessels that carry blood to your heart muscle) are blocked, blood can’t flow to the heart muscle. In this case, the heart muscle may die (heart attack). Coronary artery bypass surgery creates a path for blood to flow around a blockage and helps prevent a heart attack.

Attaching the Graft

A small opening is made in the coronary artery, below the blockage.

  • If a saphenous vein or radial artery is used, one end of the graft is sewn onto this opening. The other end is sewn onto the aorta.
  • If the internal thoracic (mammary) artery is used, one end of the graft is sewn onto this opening. The other end is already attached to a branch of the aorta.

Finishing Up

Once the graft has been attached, blood will start flowing through this new pathway to bypass the blockage. If you have multiple blockages, more than one bypass may be done. Then your breastbone is rejoined with wires. These wires will stay in your chest permanently. The incision is closed, and you are taken to the intensive care unit to begin your recovery.

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