Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) is a heart operation. It uses blood vessels taken from another part of your body to go around or “bypass” blocked or narrowed coronary (heart) arteries. The surgery helps people whose coronary arteries have become narrowed or blocked by fatty material called plaque. The bypass allows more blood and oxygen to flow to the heart muscle.
How do the arteries of your heart become blocked? Over time, fats, cholesterol and other substances can build up in the walls of your arteries to form a plaque. When the plaque breaks open and a blood clot forms, blood flow to your heart is blocked. This can lead to chest discomfort called angina and to a heart attack.
- Your doctor will take a blood vessel from your chest or from your leg.
- One end is attached to your aorta (the large artery that comes out of the heart), and the other end is attached to the coronary artery below the point where it’s blocked.
- Blood can now flow through the new channel to the heart.
- You may have more than one coronary artery bypass done at a time, depending on how many arteries are blocked.