When patients’ arteries cannot supply enough blood and oxygen to the heart, the doctor may recommend you undergo a coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). This procedure restores normal blood flow to the heart so that the heart itself can maintain a good blood supply. Beating heart by-pass surgery, put simply, is a CABG operation which is performed while the heart is still beating, removing the need for a heart-lung machine. This may be beneficial, since operating without stopping the heart and lungs reduces the potential risk for bleeding or strokes.
Both off pump and conventional on pump surgeries restore blood flow to the heart but off pump bypass surgery has proven to reduce side effects for certain types of patients.
How is it performed?
- The doctor will take a healthy blood vessel from the patient’s chest, arm or leg. This is called a graft.
- The surgeon attaches one end of the healthy vein to an area of the heart above the blockage in the artery. The other end is attached to an area of the coronary artery below where it is clogged.
- The difficulty with beating heart bypass surgery is that it is difficult to sew on a beating heart. To solve this, the surgeon uses a stabilization device to keep the heart steady and make it possible to work on it.
What Happens After My Off-Pump Bypass Surgery?
- Patients will complete their recovery time much earlier than patients who undergo a conventional by-pass surgery. Recovery time has been reported to be as short as 3-4 weeks. Since the patients are not placed on the heart lung machine, they experience quicker recoveries.
- Hospitalization time is generally shorter when compared to the traditional by pass. (approximatively 1 week)
- Risk of a stroke and the need for blood transfusions are reduced.