Coronary artery disease (a build-up of plaque in the arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood) may lead to symptoms such as fatigue or angina—or even a heart attack—should the arteries become blocked. If the problem can’t be relieved by medication or catheter-based procedures like angioplasty, the patient may require a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). A section of healthy artery or vein is transplanted from another part of the patient’s body (usually the chest or a leg or arm) into the heart, to provide a pathway for blood to move around the blockage and into the heart muscle. The surgeon may perform bypasses on multiple blocked coronary blood vessels during the same procedure (e.g., a double or triple bypass).
The Temple Heart & Vascular Institute offers almost every type of bypass approach to suit the specific needs of the patient. Often CABG is done as traditional open surgery, but we may also be able to perform the procedure as part of a hybrid procedure that combines treatment for multiple heart conditions. In some cases CABG can be performed without the use of a heart-lung machine, which may reduce certain risks. Temple cardiovascular surgeons are some of the most experienced in the region utilizing “beating heart surgery” (off-pump coronary bypass surgery). This technique can offer specific advantages for high-risk patients. Procedures for harvesting the blood vessel used as a bypass material are usually done with minimally invasive techniques that reduce discomfort and have a smaller risk of infection. Temple cardiovascular surgeons have extensive experience in atrial revascularization using arteries rather than veins to bypass blocked coronary arteries. This technique can offer survival benefits in certain patients.