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Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

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Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting



A coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is an open-heart surgery. Part of a blood vessel from another part of the body is attached to a blocked artery of the heart. The attached blood vessel helps more blood flow to an area of the heart.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery.

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Reasons for Procedure

CABG can help blood flow in arteries of the heart. Problems with blood flow are most often caused by atherosclerosis. This is a build up of a fatty substance on the wall of the blood vessel. It builds over time and decreases the amount of blood that can flow through to the heart muscle. Slowed blood flow can cause chest pain called angina, damage to heart, or a heart attack.

CABG may be done if the heart's arteries have very bad blockages. It may be done as part of a treatment plan if other things have not worked. CABG may also be done as part of emergency care during or after a heart attack.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • High blood pressure or low blood pressure
  • Bleeding
  • Stroke
  • Harm to other organs such as the kidneys
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Death

Some things that may raise the risk of problems include:

What to Expect

Problems To Look Out For

Be sure to watch your recovery after you leave the hospital. Call your doctor if you have:

  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicine you were given
  • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
  • Redness, swelling, more pain, a lot of bleeding, or discharge at the incision sites
  • Lasting nausea or vomiting
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Pain, burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent blood in the urine
  • Gaining more than 4 pounds within 1 to 2 days
  • Pain or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs, or sudden shortness of breath or chest pain

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.





  • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/coronary-artery-bypass-graft-CABG-surgery.
  • Diodato, M. and Chedrawy, E.G. Coronary artery bypass graft surgery: the past, present, and future of myocardial revascularisation. Surg Res Pract. 2014; 2014: 726158.
  • Hillis, L.D., Smith, P.K., et al. 2011 ACCF/AHA Guideline for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, 2011; 124 (23): e652.
  • What is coronary artery bypass grafting? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/coronary-artery-bypass-grafting.


  • Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.