Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: How It Is Done - Topic Overview
Restarting your heart
If you are on the heart-lung bypass machine, your doctor
will restart your heart. After your bypass grafts have been sewn in
place with strong stitches (sutures), your doctor will take the clamp off of
your aorta. This will allow blood to flow to your heart, and the heart will
typically start to beat again.
When your heart starts to beat again, you will be taken off the
heart-lung bypass machine. Your surgeon may then apply a small electric shock,
or your anesthesiologist may administer another medication to help your heart
muscle regain its natural rhythm.
Closing your chest cavity
Prior to closing up your sternum, your surgeon will place several small tubes inside your chest cavity, with one end exiting your body through an incision in
your upper abdomen. These tubes allow drainage of any extra fluids from your
chest. Your surgeon will then close your rib cage and use metal wires to bring
the two halves of your sternum back together.
Finally, your surgeon will sew the soft tissues and muscles in your
chest together with extra-strong stitches, or sutures. Surgery without
complications usually takes 3 to 6 hours, depending on how many coronary
arteries are bypassed.
Although the CABG procedure is considered a relatively safe
procedure, it also involves certain risks. It is important that you educate
yourself about the
risks of CABG surgery beforehand and talk with your
surgeon about how your current health condition will affect your risk for