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Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)

Read more about Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG).

Overview

A coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is open-heart bypass surgery done to help relieve symptoms of heart disease.This surgery can sometimes be recommended for patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and ventricular tachycardia (a type of a heart arrhythmia). Unfortunately, the results are unpredictable, and the recurrence rate is high.

Effect of Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

During a CABG procedure, a blood vessel (vein) is taken from the leg or chest or wrist and grafted into a diseased artery, bypassing the blocked area. If more than one area is blocked, a bypass can be done for each area (leading to double, triple, or quadruple bypass). The blood can then go around the obstruction to supply the heart with enough blood carrying oxygen. This increase in oxygen-rich blood can help patients with coronary artery disease and certain arrhythmias by allowing the heart to function better.

Side Effects and Warnings

An open CABG is considered major surgery, using general anesthesia, and the risks and benefits should be carefully discussed with your doctor.

If you are planning to have a CABG, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Infections
  • Blood clots
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Bleeding
  • Stroke
  • Damage to other organs, such as the kidneys
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Death

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Lung disease, especially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (emphysema)
  • Prior heart attack or bypass surgery
  • Advanced age
  • Surgical urgency
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Thyroid disease

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