Coronary artery bypass surgery for coronary artery disease

A coronary artery is narrowed or blocked

Heart, with detail of coronary artery narrowed by plaque
slide 1 of 5
    
slide 1 of 5, A coronary artery is narrowed or blocked,

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery reroutes blood around narrowed or blocked arteries, increasing blood flow to the heart muscle tissue.

The sternum is cut

Location of incision in chest
slide 2 of 5
    
slide 2 of 5, The sternum is cut,

The surgeon makes a vertical incision in the skin and muscle in the middle of the chest and then cuts through the breastbone (sternum).

The heart is exposed

Retractor exposing the heart in the chest
slide 3 of 5
    
slide 3 of 5, The heart is exposed,

The surgeon spreads the rib cage with a retractor to expose the heart and then cuts through the lining that protects the heart (pericardium).

Blood flow is rerouted

Location of saphenous vein  in leg, and heart showing saphenous  vein and an internal mammary artery used to bypass the diseased coronary artery
slide 4 of 5
    
slide 4 of 5, Blood flow is rerouted,

To reroute blood flow around the diseased blood vessel, surgeons typically use a portion of the saphenous vein in the leg or an internal mammary artery.

Oxygen-rich blood flows to heart muscle

Decreased blood flow caused by narrowed or blocked artery before surgery and normal blood flow after surgery
slide 5 of 5
    
slide 5 of 5, Oxygen-rich blood flows to heart muscle,

Regardless of which type of blood vessel is used, oxygen-rich blood from the aorta is rerouted around the narrowed or blocked section of the coronary artery to feed the heart muscle.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRobert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology

Current as ofJanuary 27, 2016

Current as of: January 27, 2016

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology