What is the Average Life Expectancy After Bypass Surgery? 

What is the Average Life Expectancy After Bypass Surgery? 

While the benefits of bypass surgery are largely known, it wasn’t until 2017 that we were able to provide a calculative answer as to what is the average life expectancy after bypass surgery. This is all in thanks to a large 30-year follow-up study that analyzed the aftermath of a heart bypass operation. The conclusion of this study was… 

The 30-year prognosis following a CABG surgery has been largely improved in the last three decades. And, for patients that survive the immediate 30 days after the operation, their survival rate is about equal that to the general population.  

However, because bypass surgery is a palliative treatment (meant only to relieve symptoms temporarily), a majority of the patients (94%) required a repeat intervention after the first 8-10 years. That is how, after examining over 50,000 CABG patients, they concluded that the average life expectancy after bypass surgery is 17.6 years. 

The Evolution of Bypass Surgeries 

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG), according to another comprehensive follow-up study conducted in 2001-2011, is one of the most commonly performed cardiac surgery in the world — with over 200,000 isolated cases in the US alone. 

The operation has a long history, and because of its complexity, it’s seen a lot of failures over the years. Even so, bypass surgery has now evolved to take advantage of modern surgical and interventional developments in order to create a less-invasive treatment plan that decreases the mortality rates it’s been associated with in the past. 

The Life Expectancy Timeline 

In the same study we discussed in the beginning, researchers compared the mortality rates of the 50,000 CABG surgery patients to that of the general population throughout a 30-year period, and these are the numbers that they came up with… 

  • Day 0-30 the mortality risk of CABG patients was significantly higher at 3.2% versus the general public’s (which was at 0.2%.) 
  • Day 31-365 the mortality risk was not so different. With the average rates at 2.9% for CABG patients, and the general public at 2.4%. 
  • Year 1-10 the mortality risk increases again in comparison. With CABG patients at 30.7% and the general public at 25.8%. 
  • Year 11-20, the period where the average life-expectantly falls, is when the mortality rates grow even more substantially — with the CABG surgery patients at 51.1% and the general public at 35.6%. 
  • Year 21-30 the prospective study ends with the mortality rates at 62.4% for CABG patients and 44.8% for the general population.  

This timeline only proves the prospective study’s actual conclusion.  

Conclusion: What is the Average Life Expectancy After Bypass Surgery? 

Bypass Surgery was never meant to be a cure. At best, it treats the symptoms related to Coronary Artery Disease and temporarily halts the progression of the disease. However, as the years pass, its effects will begin to dwindle, leaving the average life expectancy post-surgery at 17.6 years. 


  1. Adelborg, Kasper, et al. “Thirty-Year Mortality After Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery.” Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, vol. 10, no. 5, 2017, doi:10.1161/circoutcomes.116.002708.  
  2. Weiss, Audrey J, and Anne Elixhauser. “Trends in Operating Room Procedures in U.S. Hospitals, 2001–2011: Statistical Brief #171.” Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Briefs, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US), Mar. 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24851286