What Happens During a Coronary Bypass Surgical Procedure

Coronary Bypass Surgical Procedure

If you or someone you know is suffering from Coronary Artery Disease, then a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) surgery might be required. It’s an operation that is performed roughly 200,000 times each year in the United States, and it’s well-known for the risks and the long recovery period. But, what really happens during a coronary bypass surgical procedure?

Continue reading if you want to learn more.

The Types of Heart Bypass Surgery

In order to tell you what happens during a coronary bypass surgical procedure, we must first discuss the different types of surgery that might be required. And yes, there are several types — performed depending on the number of occlusions in the body. Meaning…

  • One occlusion will require a Single Bypass.
  • Two makes a Double Bypass.
  • Three makes a Triple Bypass.
  • Four makes a Quadruple Bypass.

These terms might be used to describe your surgery specifically. Again, based on how many arteries are blocked inside of your body. It’s also important to note that the more blockages you have, the more complex the surgery will be.

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

To start with, each patient is given a set of instructions in order to prepare for their surgery (at least in scheduled procedures — which are more common than emergency procedures.) A number of tests will also be performed in order to ensure the best way to handle your treatments. These might include blood tests, an x-ray of your chest, an electrocardiogram, and an angiogram.

Once you are ready for the surgery, anesthesia will be administered in order to put you to sleep. It’s only when that has run its course does the surgeon begin making the incision (which will go in the middle of your chest.)

The process moving forward will vary, but in most cases, the rib cage is opened up so that the heart can be reached. In this time, a machine might be hooked up in order to keep oxygen circulating throughout your body.

Of course, the true purpose of the procedure is to create a ‘graft.’ This is done by taking a healthy blood vessel from your leg and connecting it onto the damaged or blocked up artery in order to create a passageway for blood to pass-through. If this proves successful, the surgery is complete, and you will be moved to the intensive care unit for close observation for the next 1-2 days.


A Coronary Bypass Surgical procedure is complex, and it holds many risks. It’s not a cure either, but it is one of the best methods of treating coronary artery disease. Fortunately, modern medicine and modern technology has increased its success rates. Even more fortunate, is the fact that it’s now been proven to increase a patient’s life expectancy — barring any major complications during or post-surgery.

In the end, invasive as the treatment might be, there’s no denying how much freedom it can provide by allowing patients to live life more comfortably.


  1. “Fifty Years of Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting.” Journal of Thoracic Disease, jtd.amegroups.com/article/view/19986/15548. 
  2. Kim, Do-Kyun, et al. “Clinical Outcome of Urgent Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting.” Journal of Korean Medical Science, The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences, Apr. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2693594/.