Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)

Bypass the block and improve your flow

What is coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)?

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a surgical procedure that improves blood flow to your heart. 

During CABG, heart surgeons take a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body and sew (graft) it to your coronary artery above and below the blocked area. 

This procedure allows blood to flow around the blocked section and directly to your heart muscle.

Who's a candidate for CABG?

Heart specialists typically recommend CABG for people with severe coronary artery disease (CAD), whose arteries supplying blood to the heart have become narrowed or blocked. Your doctor may recommend CABG if you have any of the following:

  • severe narrowing of the main artery to your heart
  • a blockage in the left main heart artery
  • severe chest pain
  • more than one diseased artery
  • a blocked artery that can't be treated with a less invasive treatment

What to expect

Before the treatment:

  • We may recommend that you make lifestyle changes to your activities, diet and medications.
  • Quit smoking as soon as possible.
  • Complete a physical exam, blood tests and other diagnostic tests.
  • Fast for eight hours before the surgery.
  • Shower with special cleansers the night before your procedure.

During the treatment:

  • The surgery takes three to six hours.
  • Your care team will closely watch you in intensive care for one to two days, and you’ll stay in the hospital for several days.

After the treatment:

  • Your incision site will be tender or sore for several days.
  • You'll be referred to cardiac rehab after you return home.
  • Full recovery usually takes six to 12 weeks.
  • Most people can drive and return to work after four to six weeks.
  • Continue to follow up with your heart doctor regularly.

Benefits of CABG

CABG can improve your overall health and quality of life by:

  • improving blood flow to the heart: The new blood vessel allows more oxygen-rich blood to flow to your heart muscle. CABG can help relieve chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue.
  • reducing heart attack risk: By improving blood flow to the heart, CABG can help prevent future heart attacks.
  • increasing life expectancy: CABG helps people with severe heart disease live longer, healthier lives.
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Less-invasive technology

Traditionally, heart bypass surgery involves a large incision and the use of a heart-lung bypass machine while your heart is temporarily stopped. We also offer an off-pump CABG technique at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital that doesn't stop your heart or use heart-lung bypass. Instead, your surgeon uses special equipment to stabilize your beating heart during surgery.

Reduce risks and speed recovery

Off-pump CABG may reduce the risks of postoperative inflammation, infection and irregular heart rhythms compared with traditional bypass procedures. It can also lead to a smaller incision, a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery.

High-volume excellence

Our team performs more than 500 CABG surgeries each year, so you can rest assured you're in the hands of seasoned experts.