Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Also known as: Bypass surgery

Thousands of successful bypass surgeries have been performed by Providence surgeons, and our heart centers consistently rank among the region’s best for clinical outcomes. By today’s standards, coronary artery bypass surgery is a common procedure to treat coronary artery disease.

While there are many reasons physicians recommend bypass surgery, the goal of the surgery is always the same: to improve the supply of blood and oxygen to heart muscle and thereby stabilize and/or improve the heart’s function.

The three goals of this type of surgery are:

  • to reduce or eliminate chest pain (angina)
  • to decrease your chance of a future heart attacks
  • to improve your quality of life, while lengthening your lifespan

How bypass surgery works

Coronary artery bypass surgery utilizes a healthy blood vessel removed from your leg, arm or chest wall. These grafts are then implanted on to the heart’s surface to allow blood flow to bypass the narrowed or blocked arteries. Although both veins and arteries can be used, our surgeons use arteries when possible because studies have shown that they remain open longer than veins.

Each bypass vessel improves blood flow to a different section of heart muscle. Therefore, the number of bypasses that you will require depends on the number of narrowed arteries and how much heart muscle is affected.

Coronary artery bypass graft surgery, including off-pump surgery

Surgeons here also perform most bypass surgeries off-pump (without the heart-lung machine), which allows them to operate on the still beating heart. Off-pump surgery lowers the risk of bleeding, stroke and renal failure, leading to quicker recovery. Mortality is also reduced with off-pump surgery.

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