Heart Bypass Surgery

Table of Contents

What is Heart bypass surgery?

Heart bypass surgery is also called coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. It involves the creation of a new route for blood to flow around narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. Your coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply your heart muscle with blood. The newly created route is made with a graft (A graft is a healthy blood vessel taken from other parts of your body).

  • Atherosclerosis is the main cause of narrowed or blocked coronary arteries and it causes a blood clot. In atherosclerosis, fatty deposits usually build upon coronary artery walls and harden into a substance called plaque. As plaque builds on coronary artery walls, the artery narrows and hardens. A serious blockage can eventually occur. This reduces blood flow through the coronary artery. A blood clot completely blocks the coronary artery (heart attack).
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD) is another cause of narrowed or blocked coronary arteries and it occurs when fatty plaque builds up in the coronary arteries over a period of years, hardens, and eventually blocks the flow of blood to the heart muscle. Untreated CAD will increase your risk of having a heart attack.

Heart bypass surgery is named after the number of blocked coronary arteries that are bypassed.

  • Single bypass – When a single artery is blocked.
  • Double bypass – When two arteries will be blocked.
  • Triple bypass – When three arteries will be blocked.
  • Quadruple bypass – When Four arteries will be blocked.
there are 4 types of techniques used for heart bypass surgery that is single, double, triple and quadruple

When will you require a heart bypass surgery? 

Your surgeon will recommend heart bypass surgery to treat narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. Heart bypass surgery will only be considered if other treatment options with less risk of complications have failed.

Your surgeon could recommend heart bypass surgery to reduce your risk of a heart attack when angioplasty and stenting are not an option. Angioplasty and stenting are less invasive procedures to treat certain types of narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. Your surgeon will base the decision to perform a heart bypass on the following conditions:

  • If you have severe symptoms of coronary artery disease. This includes angina(chest pain or discomfort) and shortness of breath.
  • The location of your blockage or blockages.
  • The number of blockages you have.
  • The severity of your blockage or blockages.
  • Coronary bypass surgery will also be performed in emergencies, such as a heart attack or if you are not responding to other treatments.

Even with coronary bypass surgery, you will need to make lifestyle changes after surgery. Medications are prescribed routinely after coronary bypass surgery to lower your blood cholesterol, reduce the risk of developing a blood clot and help your heart work well.

This infographic defines who needs a heart bypass surgery

What are the types of heart bypass surgery?

The types of heart bypass surgery include:

  • On-pump surgery will use a heart-lung machine (cardiopulmonary bypass). This machine will temporarily take over the role of a heart of pumping oxygen-rich blood to the organs and tissues. This is the common type of heart bypass surgery. It allows your surgeon to operate on a heart which is not beating and which has no blood travelling through it.
  • Beating heart or off-pump surgery will not use a heart-lung machine. Your surgeon will operate on an actively beating heart. Your surgeon will slow down your heart rate with medications or a device. This procedure is used to bypass any of the coronary arteries.
  • Robot-assisted surgery allows your surgeon to use a special computer to control robotic arms to perform the surgery. The surgeon sees a three-dimensional view of the surgery on a monitor. This type of surgery is very precise and will use small, keyhole-size incisions.

How is the bypass surgery performed?

A cardiac surgeon also known as a cardiothoracic surgeon will perform heart bypass surgery using general anesthesia. The surgery will be performed in a hospital using one of the following approaches:

  • Minimally invasive coronary artery bypass (MIDCAB): This is performed by a small (three to five-inch) incision between your ribs. Minimally invasive surgery involves a faster recovery and less pain than open surgery because it causes fewer traumas to tissues and organs. Your surgeon will make a small incision instead of a larger one that is used in open surgery.
  • Port access coronary artery bypass surgery: This will involve inserting special instruments and a thoracoscope through ports or small incisions in your chest. A thoracoscope is a thin, lighted instrument fitted with a small camera. The camera transmits pictures of the inside of your chest to a video screen that can be viewed by the surgeon while performing surgery.
  • Open Heart Surgery: In this procedure, a large incision is made in the chest and through the breastbone. An open surgery incision will allow your surgeon to directly see and access the surgical area. Open surgery involves a longer recovery and more pain than minimally invasive surgery. Open surgery will require a larger incision and more cutting and displacement of muscle and other tissues than minimally invasive surgery. Despite this, open surgery can be a safer or more effective method for certain patients.

Your surgeon will advise you on the suitable procedure and the hospital stays based on your diagnosis, age, medical history and general health.

Postoperative care after bypass surgery?

  • After surgery, you will be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) to be monitored closely. Machines will constantly display your electrocardiogram (ECG) tracing, blood pressure, pulse rate, and oxygen level. It will take a few hours for the major effects of anaesthesia to wear off.
  • You will have a breathing tube which will be removed within 24 hours. You may have a sore throat due to the tube, but you can tell your health care team if you are feeling uncomfortable.
  • You will also have drains in the heart and chest to drain fluid after surgery and they will be removed in a few days after surgery.
  • You will be shifted from the ICU as your recovery progresses. Hospital stays after heart bypass surgery would be five to seven days. Recovery after surgery is a gradual process.

What should you do and expect after heart bypass surgery?

CABG will help in relieving angina(chest pain or discomfort) and improves the long-term survival of patients suffering from low heart muscle pump function. Thus, to have a healthy heart after the surgery and to avoid future heart problems, you should quit smoking; have regular exercises, and have dietary changes. Recovery time will vary depending on the procedure, your age, general health and other factors. Your surgeon will refer you to a cardiac rehabilitation program for you to recover.

How can you prepare yourself for the surgery?

  • The first and foremost thing that you need to do is to keep yourself well informed about the bypass surgery. Information from your doctor and other credible sources will be very helpful in this respect.
  • Writing down about your queries, problems, new symptoms, any physical changes, medications, past medical reports and other important things will help you to clearly express yourself to the doctor.

The checklist given below will help you to plan your treatment in India:

(click on image to zoom)

What are the risks and complications of heart bypass surgery?

The complications will be higher if the surgery was done in an emergency or if you have other medical conditions, such as kidney disease, diabetes, emphysema, or blocked arteries in your legs. The possible risk of bypass surgery includes the following:

  • Bleeding during or after the surgery
  • Blood clots that cause heart attack, stroke, or lung problems
  • Infection at the incision site
  • Pneumonia
  • Breathing problems
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney or lung failure
  • An irregular heart rhythm
  • Failure of the graft
  • Stroke
  • Memory loss which often improves gradually within six to twelve months
  • Post-pericardiotomy syndrome, which is a low-grade fever and chest pain for up to six months after heart bypass surgery.

You should take immediate medical assistance if you have the following symptoms after surgery:

  • Bleeding
  • Breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or wheezing
  • Change in alertness, such as passing out and unresponsiveness
  • Chest pain, tightness in chest or palpitations
  • Inability to urinate
  • Leg pain, swelling especially in the calf indicating a blood clot
  • Pain that cannot be controlled by medication
  • Unexpected drainage, pus, redness or swelling of the incision
  • Weight gain of more than five pounds, indicating that you are retaining fluids, a potentially dangerous situation

How can you reduce the risk of complications after the surgery?

The risk of some complications after heart bypass surgery can be reduced by:

  • Following dietary and lifestyle restrictions.
  • Informing your doctor right away if any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, increase in pain or wound redness, swelling or drainage.
  • Taking your medications exactly as directed by the doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is coronary bypass surgery?

Coronary bypass grafting (CABG) is a surgical procedure that improves blood flow and supplies oxygen to the heart which has been impacted by the narrowing of the coronary arteries.

How is heart bypass surgery performed?

  • Step 1 – The surgeon makes an incision and once the heart is visible, the patient will be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine. The machine takes blood away from the heart so that the surgeon can operate. Some newer procedures do not use this machine.
  • Step 2 – The surgeon will use a healthy vein or artery to make a new path around the blocked artery.
  • Step 3 – After completing the graft, the surgeon will restore your heartbeat, disconnect you from the heart-lung machine and use wire to close your chest bone. The wire will remain in your body even after the bone heals.

What are the after-effects of heart bypass surgery?

Chest pain around the site of the chest bone incision, swelling in the area where an artery or vein was removed for grafting, Muscle pain and tightness in the shoulders and upper back.

What is the success rate of heart bypass surgery (CABG)?

The overall success rate of heart bypass operations in a year is almost 98%.

Why should I rely on Treatment Possible for my Heart Bypass Surgery in India?

At Treatment Possible, our main objective is to provide the best cardiology treatment options and surgery packages for heart bypass surgeries in India at the lowest cost. We recognize the significance of excellent medical care and well being of our heart treatment guests by associating with top cardiac care surgeons and the best heart bypass surgery hospital for heart bypass surgery in India. 

In India, Heart Bypass Surgery cost starts from around USD 5,000 and varies with the type of cardiac surgery procedure chosen, cardiothoracic surgeon costs, heart bypass surgery hospital facility and the city where you chose to get the surgery done. Healthcare in India is among the best and even recent viruses have spared India whereas they have ravaged western nations.

Treatment Possible has been working in the medical tourism industry and with international patients for over a decade and uses its expertise of Medical Tourism in India to ensure the best cardiology treatment and affordable care for you and your loved ones. 

We encourage you to educate yourself about Heart Bypass Surgery, procedure, cost in India and then make an informed decision. Treatment Possible also invites you for a Free Consultation with chosen Top Surgeons in India with the assurance of hassle-free arrangements for examinations, procedures, recovery, travel and stay.

For an early response from a case manager, medical history and diagnostic reports can be sent to care@treatmentpossible.com. An individually allocated case manager from Treatment Possible takes personalized interest to design a tailor-made cardiac care heart treatment plan for every guest and provide a specific time, cost of the heart bypass surgery in India and other living and travel arrangements.

Check out more valuable information about Interventional Cardiology in India.

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