Veins are sometimes used to replace arteries that are not healthy. Removing them is called harvesting.
Leg veins are often used for vein harvesting. For open chest procedures, like coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), veins or other blood vessels in the chest are often used.
Reasons for Procedure
Vein grafts are most often used to channel blood flow around blocked arteries.
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Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
- Excess bleeding
- Problems from anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Injury to nearby structures
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
- Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
- Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or any discharge from the incision
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you were given
- Changes in the color of your leg—or your leg feels cold, numb, or tingly
- Problems breathing or chest pain
- Lightheadedness or weakness
- Calves that are red, swollen, or warm to the touch
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Prior to Procedure
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
- Anesthesia options
- Any allergies you may have
- Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and if you need to stop taking them before surgery
- Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
- Whether you need a ride to and from surgery
- Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/coronary-artery-bypass-graft-cabg-surgery.
- How it's performed---coronary artery bypass graft. NHS website. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronary-artery-bypass-graft-cabg/what-happens.
- Zhang, S.Z., Wang, G.X., et al. The clinical application of microincision vein harvesting of the great saphenous vein in coronary artery bypass grafting. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2020; 20 (1): 297.
- Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
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