Overview: Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease develops when a substance called plaque builds up within the arteries in the heart reducing blood flow to the heart muscle. It limits activity due to anginal (chest pain) symptoms, may result in heart attacks, and remains the leading cause of death in the United States. An angiogram may be done to evaluate the extent of coronary artery disease. Medical therapy, angioplasty or Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG) may be needed if one or more of your coronary arteries are blocked.
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
In coronary artery bypass surgery, a healthy artery or vein is grafted to the coronary artery to divert blood around the blocked or narrowed portion. The healthy artery or veins are used from another part of the body. Typically, the artery is taken from inside the chest wall. On occasion, an artery may be used from the inside of the lower arm. Veins are taken from legs by utilizing a minimally invasive endoscopic technique.
At Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is performed in one of the following ways:
- Traditional coronary artery bypass surgery - This involves an incision of your breastbone to open the chest cavity. A heart-lung bypass machine is used to circulate the blood and oxygen during the surgery.
- Off pump or “ beating heart “ coronary artery bypass surgery - this involves an incision of your breastbone to open the chest cavity. The heart lung bypass is not utilized during this procedure.
- Minimally invasive direct CABG (MidCAB) - The surgeon uses the da Vinci robot to mobilize the internal mammary artery. A small chest incision is used to access the heart and perform the off pump bypass procedure.
- Hybrid procedure - This procedure combines a catheter based approach (i.e. stent) performed by a cardiologist and a MidCAB.
Your surgeon and medical team will work with you to decide which surgical approach is best for you.
What can I expect after surgery?
Your length of stay in the hospital will be determined by the surgical approach used and your general medical condition. The average hospital stay at Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular for coronary bypass surgery is 4.7 days compared with the national average (Society of Thoracic Surgeons 2011) of 6.8 days. You will continue to recover at home with gradual improvement in your energy and activity level. You will be given instructions regarding the type and amount of physical activity that you can engage in as you recover. A cardiac rehabilitation program can be a great help in your recovery. We recommend starting cardiac rehabilitation at 4 weeks after hospital discharge.
Would you like to learn more about coronary artery bypass graft surgery in Portland? Call now to schedule an appointment: 503-607-8380
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