Font Size
A
A
A

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery for Coronary Artery Disease


A coronary artery is blocked

Picture of blockage in the coronary arteries

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery reroutes blood around blocked arteries, increasing blood flow to the heart muscle tissue.

The sternum is cut

Picture of a vertical incision in the chest

The surgeon makes a vertical incision in the skin and muscle in the middle of the chest and then cuts through the breastbone (sternum).

The heart is exposed

Picture of the surgical site exposed with a rib spreader

The surgeon spreads the rib cage with a retractor to expose the heart and then cuts through the lining that protects the heart (pericardium).

Blood flow is rerouted

Picture of grafts that restore blood flow to the heart

To reroute blood flow around the diseased blood vessel, surgeons typically use a portion of the saphenous vein in the leg or an internal mammary artery.

Oxygen-rich blood flows to heart muscle

Picture of normalized blood flow restored by bypass grafts

Regardless of which type of blood vessel is used, oxygen-rich blood from the aorta is rerouted around the blocked section of the coronary artery to feed the heart muscle.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
Last RevisedMay 10, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.






Medical Dictionary