Auckland DHB Cardiothoracic and Vascular Intensive Care and High Dependency Unit
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG)
Patients with coronary artery disease can have arteries that are blocked or narrowed, meaning blood flow to parts of the heart is poor or non-existent. Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) is a surgical procedure that uses veins or arteries from elsewhere in the body e.g. the leg to create a detour around the blocked coronary artery to improve or restore blood flow to the heart muscle.
The procedure involves making a cut through the front of the chest and breast bone (sternotomy) so the surgeons can operate directly on the heart. During the procedure the patient's heart is stopped and replaced by an external heart-lung bypass machine. Once the surgery is complete the heart is restarted and the heart-lung machine removed, the breast bone is joined back together and the chest wound sewn up. The operation can take between 3-5 hours.