Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) Surgery

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a type of surgery that improves blood flow to the heart. Surgeons use CABG to treat people who have severe coronary heart disease (CHD). Symptoms of coronary artery disease include chest pain, fatigue, palpitations, abnormal heart rhythms and shortness of breath. In the CHD the blood flow to the heart is obstructed due to blockage of the arteries. These blockages are usually due to plaques which built up in the interior of the artery wall due to several reasons. As these arteries are responsible for blood supply to the heart, its blockage leads to deficiency in the blood supply to the heart leading to deficit in the oxygen supply. Coronary arteries carry oxygen-rich blood top the heart. The plaque hardens over the [period of time or can also rupture. The hardening of the plaque causes narrow passage for the blood to flow which leads to  angina the symptoms of which include chest pain, breathlessness, fatigue etc. all due to deficiency in the oxygen rich blood supply to the heart. 

The rupturing of the coronary artery is called as heart attack in which the blood clot is formed due to the rupture and this clot can then completely lead to blockage of the blood through the coronary arteries. Heart attacks can be fatal. 

Steps taken

During CABG, a healthy artery or vein from the body is connected, or grafted, to the blocked coronary artery. The grafted artery or vein bypasses creates a new path for oxygen-rich blood to flow to the heart muscle. The results of CABG usually are excellent. The surgery improves or completely relieves angina symptoms in most patients. CABG lowers risk of having a heart attack and aids longevity. Chances of developing coronary heart increase with age. Smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, and comorbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension can precipitate a heart attack.  Surgeons can bypass multiple coronary arteries during one surgery.

Advantages 

CABG improves your quality of life and reduces other CHD symptoms. It allows you to resume a more active lifestyle. It is a surgical intervention where surgery is the only option and anti-angina medications offer only limited benefit. Major arteries blockage, blockage above 70% narrowing the passage for the blood flow, CABG is the only option. 

Precautions 

CABG is a sophisticated and intricate surgery and needs to be conducted in a specialised institute and operating theatre equipped to handle such cases. The trained cardio-vascular thoracic surgeons carry out such surgeries with their skilled team. Concomitant diseases can complicate the surgery and also the post-surgery recovery period. For diabetic and hypertensive patients the blood sugar levels and blood pressure must be well controlled before undertaking the procedure. Post-surgery, the advice from the cardiologists, nutritionist and physiotherapist and other specialists must be adhered to. Regular exercise, weight control, positive attitude and regular medications help in complete recovery post-surgery. Dietary control is an important tool to prevent recurring of the arterial blockages. Fatty and salty food, high blood lipid levels have propensity to block the blood vessels. Thus, patients need to refrain from unhealthy life-style. The unaffected branches of the artery can also get blocked over the period of time and may call for surgery. 

FAQs

What can I do to prevent my arteries narrowing?

To help prevent your arteries narrowing you can take medicines and make lifestyle changes. That way you may not need surgery to treat coronary heart disease.

What is an arterial block? 

 Blockages in arteries are buildup of cholesterol, scar, and muscle tissue with calcium within the wall of the artery that can block the flow of blood to the vital organ, such as the heart. 

Can I have bath after CABG?

Sponge baths are given immediately. It will be a few days however before you are allowed to take shower and shampoo.

Will my cardiologist show me the diagram of the blockages? 

Yes; after the angiography, the cardiologist will show you the picture and pin-point the blockages. This helps and patients and the caretakers understand the medical situation. 

Will the anesthesia used during the procedure affect my cognition?

No; the anesthetic drugs have short-span of action and are used in the concentration based on the duration of the surgery and immediate post0surgery recovery period. It does not affect the metal faculties of the brain.

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