Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery for Coronary Artery Disease
A coronary artery is blocked
Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery reroutes blood around blocked arteries, increasing blood flow to the heart muscle tissue.
The sternum is cut
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
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
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
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.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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