This is the most common type of heart surgery. You may also hear coronary artery bypass graft (CABG - pronounced "cabbage") surgery referred to as: coronary artery bypass (CAB), coronary bypass, or bypass surgery.
Arteries can become clogged over time by the buildup of fatty plaque. Bypass surgery improves the blood flow to the heart with a new route, or "bypass," around a section of clogged or diseased artery.
The surgery involves sewing a section of vein from the leg, arteries from the chest, or another part of the body to bypass a part of a diseased coronary artery. This creates a new route for blood to flow, so that the heart muscle will get the oxygen-rich blood it needs to function properly.
During bypass surgery, the breastbone (sternum) is divided, the heart is stopped, and blood is sent through a heart-lung machine. Unlike other kinds of heart surgery, the chambers of the heart are not opened during bypass surgery.
When you hear the words single bypass, double bypass, triple bypass, or quadruple bypass, it refers to the number of arteries that are bypassed. The number of bypasses does not necessarily indicate how severe the heart condition is.
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