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Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

Primary function of the heart is to pump blood continuously and supply sufficient quantity of blood to the various parts of the body. Heart is made up of a special tissues called myocardium. Oxygen and other nutrients for myocardium are received from coronary arteries. If blood supply to heart is inadequate heart may not be able to function satisfactorily. If supply of oxygenated blood to myocardium is interrupted for continuous periods of time, a condition called ischemia will be developed.

Due to various changes that take place in a person as he ages, blood pressure, sugar level etc increases which results in the accumulation of a waxy substance inside the coronary artery disrupting the free flow of blood through this artery. These accumulated waxy substances harden in due course of time and these plaques in the arteries are known as coronary artery disease. Building up of plaque inside the coronary arteries take place over a period of some years and it is known as atherosclerosis. As a result of the blockage of blood flow to the heart, chest pain known as angina or even heart attack may occur. Coronary artery diseases can lead to heart failure also.

Coronary artery bypass grafting is one of the treatment options for coronary heart diseases. In this method a healthy artery or vein from another part of patient’s body is connected to the coronary artery just below and above the area where the blockage is experienced. This artery/vein is used to bypass the blocked area and the blood passes through this grafted artery/vein. Angioplasty is another surgical procedure in which a stent is inserted at the blockage area and obstruction to the flow of blood is thus overcome.

Coronary artery bypass surgery: Coronary artery bypass surgery is done when at least one of the arteries need by passing. Traditionally coronary artery bypass surgeries are done as an open heart surgery. In this surgery chest bone is opened and the heart is accessed. With the help of medicines the heart beating is stopped. Heart lung machine is used to continue the functions of the heart. After completing the surgery the blood flow to the heart is restored and the heart starts to beat on its own. Sometimes an electric shock will be needed to restart the heart.

Off pump coronary artery surgery: In this type of surgery the heart is not stopped for the purpose of the operation. In this surgery the heart is accessed by opening the chest bone. Heart lung machine is not used in this surgery as the heart is not stopped. This surgery is also known as beating heart bypass surgery.

Minimally invasive coronary artery bypasses grafting: In this surgery the chest bone is not opened as in a traditional heart bypass surgery. Instead three or four minimal incisions are used in this case to complete the surgery. These surgeries are usually conducted to bypass the blood vessels in the front of the heart. In this procedure the surgeon makes a 2 to 3 inch incision in the chest near the sternum. After dividing the muscles in the area the surgeon reaches the heart. Through another small incisionsin the chest of the patient endoscope which is an instrument with a camera and light source on one end is inserted into the operation area. Through other small incisions instruments for the surgery are inserted. The other end of the video camera is connected to a monitor placed in front of the surgeon through whom he will be able to see the parts of the heart where surgical procedure is being carried out. By looking at the monitor and remotely controlling the instruments the surgeon completes the surgery.