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Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting?

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries. Cholesterol and fatty deposits build up on the walls of the arteries. This restricts blood flow. When the build up happens in the heart, it may lead to chest pain, called angina, or heart attack . Lifestyle changes and medicines can be used to treat atherosclerosis. When the blockage gets too severe, a CABG is done to re-establish blood supply to the heart muscle. It is often recommended in cases of:

  • Severe blockage in the main artery or in several blood vessels that supply blood to your heart muscle
  • Persistent chest pain ( angina ) not improved with drug therapy or other procedures

Possible Complications

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

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been...