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A heart bypass surgery, or a coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), is a surgical procedure that reroutes blood flow around a blocked or narrowed artery in your heart. This restores blood flow to your heart by creating a new pathway for your blood to flow.
Your cardiologist may recommend a heart bypass surgery if angioplasty is not a suitable option to treat your blocked or narrowed artery due to the nature and severity of the stenosis.
Depending on the number of blocked arteries, there are several types of heart bypass surgeries available:
- Single bypass surgery: done when one artery is blocked.
- Double bypass surgery: done when two arteries are blocked.
- Triple bypass surgery: done when three arteries are blocked.
- Quadruple bypass surgery: done when four arteries are blocked.
Make an appointment with us to find out more about the treatment options that are suitable for you.
What Happens During a Heart Bypass Surgery
A heart bypass surgery usually takes around four hours, and requires general anaesthesia administration. The amount of time will depend on the number of blockages, and their severity.
During the surgery, your surgeon will make an incision down the centre of the chest to reach the heart. The ribs are then opened to reveal the heart, which is then temporarily stopped. A heart-lung machine takes over the heart’s function to circulate blood to the rest of the body while your surgeon operate on your heart.
Your surgeon will remove a healthy blood vessel from your chest, arm or leg to replace the blocked or narrowed artery’s function. One end is attached above the blockage, while the other is attached below the blockage to allow blood to bypass the damaged artery.
After the artery is grafted to your heart, your surgeon will remove the heart-lung machine and check the function of your bypass. If the bypass is working successfully, your surgeon will stitch and bandage the incision.
As a heart bypass surgery is an invasive procedure, you will be warded in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for monitoring. You will also be cared for by an intensivist.
Caring for Your Heart After a Heart Bypass Surgery
Even though the surgery improves blood flow to your heart, it will not cure you of your heart disease. You will still be at risk of future heart disease and blocked arteries. Aside from regularly taking the heart medications prescribed by your cardiologist, a healthy lifestyle will keep your heart disease under control.