Bypass surgery is most popularly known as Heart bypass surgery in layman’s terms. So it raises doubts many times such as “is the heart bypassed in this surgery?”, or “will my heart stop beating in the surgery?”
So let’s get rid of these misconceptions today!!
Bypass surgery is a surgical procedure for coronary arteries. It is also called “Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)”. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels which supply to the heart muscle. Many times these arteries get blocked by a blood clot or a plaque (waxy substance). It results in reduced blood supply and oxygen supply to the heart. Hence it decreases the function of the heart. These blocks can also lead to weakening and ultimate death of the heart cells which are not getting enough blood supply and results into a heart attack.
The patients mostly are of the old age group. They can have pre existing hypertension. Obese people are more prone to having a plaque formation made up of cholesterol in their coronary arteries. The patients having coronary artery disease mainly complain of chest pain, irregular heartbeats and shortness of breath.
This surgery is done under general anaesthesia. The cardiac surgeon removes a small blood vessel from other part of your body. Absence of this blood vessel doesn’t cause any damage to the body or the part from which it is removed. This removed vessel is known as a “graft”. This graft is usually taken from leg or arm or chest.
One end of the graft is attached to the aorta. Aorta is the biggest and largest artery in the body which arises from heart. The other end is attached to an artery below the block. Hence the block is bypassed. A new route is created for the blood to travel to the heart muscle. And the blood flow to the heart muscle is restored. Many times more than one blocks exist, in these conditions the surgeon does more than one bypass procedures in the same surgery. This surgery takes almost 3 to 6 hrs to be done.
The patient will be kept in intensive care unit. Continuous monitoring of Blood pressure and heart rate and rate of respiration is done. Patient will have to stay in the hospital for the next 5 -7 days. Over this time, again ECG and Echocardiogram are done o check the function of the heart and the patency of the graft. It takes almost 2 months of rest for the patient to recover. Patients are advised not to drive for a period of almost 3 to 8 weeks. Monthly follow ups with the treating doctor are advised for at least a few months.
Bypass surgery offers relief from the chest pain also known as angina and the shortness of breath. The patient will feel much more active and energetic. Most importantly, bypass surgery adds years to your life!!