Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG, pronounced “cabbage”) is a procedure used to treat coronary artery disease in certain circumstances. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the narrowing of the coronary arteries (the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle), caused by a buildup of fatty material (or plaque) within the walls of the arteries. This buildup causes the inside of the arteries to become narrowed, limiting the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
This procedure is commonly referred to as simply “bypass surgery” or CABG (pronounced “cabbage”). During the surgery, a bypass is created by grafting a piece of a vein above and below the blocked area of a coronary artery, enabling blood to flow around the obstruction. Veins are usually taken from the leg, but arteries from the chest or arm may also be used to create a bypass graft.
Traditionally, in order to bypass the blocked coronary artery in this manner, the chest is opened in the operating room and the heart is stopped for a time so that the surgeon can perform the bypass.
While the traditional “open heart” procedure is still performed and often preferred in many situations, newer, less invasive techniques have been developed to bypass blocked coronary arteries.Previous Page Last Review Date: August 14, 2019