As defined by the American Heart Association, Coronary Artery Bypass surgery (also known as CABG for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft) is performed on patients with serious blockages or narrowing of the arteries of the heart (Coronary Artery Disease)
The arteries that bring blood to the heart muscle (the coronary arteries) can become clogged by a buildup of fat and cholesterol, slowing or stopping the blood flow through the heart’s blood vessels.
The narrowing or blockage of the heart’s arteries leads to chest pain and heart attacks. Coronary Artery Bypass surgery reduces these risks.
- The accumulation of fat and cholesterol is made worse by smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
- The risk is also higher for men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 55. A history of heart disease in the immediate family also raises the risks.
During Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery, a healthy blood vessel is taken from your leg, arm or chest and connected to the other arteries in your heart (which is why it’s referred to as a coronary artery bypass graft.)
. This allows unrestricted blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle.
Depending on how many coronary arteries are blocked, a patient may need several grafts.
After surgery, symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath due to poor blood flow to the heart, usually improve.
The surgery improves the functioning of the heart and reduces the risk of death from heart disease.
Then the real work of the patient begins:
Four to six weeks after surgery, the rehabilitation phase starts with exercise stress testing.
- During a 12 week period, the patient’s exercise level is gradually increased while being monitored. The sessions are scheduled 3 times a week and each last an hour.
- Patients also receive counseling about the needed lifestyle changes, including stopping smoking, reducing weight and dietary fat, controlling their blood pressure, managing/preventing diabetes and lowering their blood cholesterol level.
And then what?