The goals of surgery for
coronary artery disease are to:
Many people with heart disease can be treated by lifestyle
changes and medicine or
angioplasty. But sometimes
coronary artery bypass graft surgery is needed. It uses healthy blood vessels to create detours around
narrowed or blocked arteries. Most of the time, bypass surgery is an open-chest
To learn more about angioplasty, see the Angioplasty
and Other Treatment section of this topic.
Coronary artery bypass graft surgery improves blood flow to the heart. During this surgery, a
doctor connects (grafts) a healthy artery or vein from another part of your
body to the blocked coronary artery. The grafted artery goes around (bypasses)
the blocked part of the artery. The bypass provides a new pathway for blood to
See a slideshow of
how bypass surgery is done .
transmyocardial laser revascularization (TMR) is used
along with bypass surgery. This surgery uses a laser beam to improve blood flow
to the heart. It is not common but may be done to reach areas of the heart
where bypass grafting does not work as well.
What to Think About
Your treatment will depend in part
- How many arteries are blocked.
- How badly the arteries are blocked, and where.
- Other heart problems you may have.
- Your feelings about treatment.
Surgery isn't right for everyone. Making lifestyle changes and taking
medicine or having angioplasty can work just as well for some people. And these
carry fewer risks than surgery.
No matter what treatment you
receive, you'll still need to make changes in the way you eat and how much you
exercise. These changes, along with not smoking, will give you the best chance
of living a longer, healthier life.
To learn more, see:
- Heart Disease: Should I Have Bypass Surgery?
- Heart Disease: Should I Have Angioplasty for Stable Angina?
If you're thinking about surgery, ask your doctor how many
heart surgeries your surgeon and the hospital perform each year. Find out how
that number compares with heart surgeries done at other hospitals. People who
have bypass surgery at hospitals that do many heart surgeries tend to have
After your surgery, your doctor may suggest that you attend a
cardiac rehabilitation program. In cardiac rehab, a
team of health professionals provides education and support to help you
The rehab team can help you make new, healthy habits,
such as eating right and getting more exercise. Making these changes is just as
important as getting treatment in keeping your heart healthy and your arteries
For more information, see the topic