Coronary Bypass Surgery

Coronary bypass surgery redirects blood flow around clogged arteries, lessening the risk of blood clots and improving oxygen circulation to the heart. In coronary bypass surgery, a surgeon takes a blood vessel from the chest or leg area and attaches it to the aorta, creating a bypass below the clogged section to restore blood flow to the heart. Depending upon the amount of blockage, a patient may have more than one bypass during this procedure.

Coronary bypass surgery is known by several different names:
  • Coronary artery bypass (CAB)
  • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery

 This procedure is usually performed if a coronary artery that delivers blood directly to the heart has become diseased or blocked and cannot be cleared with angioplasty, the process of opening narrowed or blocked coronary arteries to restore blood flow to the heart. The surgery may also be performed in certain emergency situations, such as in a patient who has had a heart attack and is not responding to other treatments.

Coronary Bypass Surgery Procedure 
With the patient under general anesthesia, the surgeon opens the chest to access the heart. A bypass graft (a piece of a healthy blood vessel) from the leg, arm or chest is sewn to the aorta (the main artery leading from your heart) and the other end is attached to a point past the blockage.

Small tubes are used to drain the chest of any fluid that accumulates. Pacing wires may also be attached to help the heart beat normally during the recovery. The surgeon closes the chest and the patient is moved to a recovery room. The entire operation takes three to six hours.

Coronary Bypass Surgery Recovery
Patients with no complications spend about a week in the hospital, including several days of observation following the surgery in the intensive care unit.
After returning home, patients need to follow their surgeon's instructions closely and be aware of any signs of complications. If patients experience a high fever, fast or irregular heartbeat, chest pain or shortness of breath, they should contact their doctor immediately.

Houston Methodist has completed construction on a new hybrid operating room that is the first of its kind in the nation. The hybrid OR incorporates advanced technologies with traditional surgery capabilities to offer patients a new range of diagnostic and treatment procedures that can streamline care, reduce recovery time and complications.

This combination of technologies allows patients to be diagnosed and treated more rapidly and with better outcomes for a range of heart and vascular conditions.


Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in coronary bypass surgery at the following convenient locations: