We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Bypass Cardiac Surgery?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Bypass cardiac surgery uses a blood vessel from another part of a person’s body, creating a graft to divert blood flow around a blocked coronary artery. The operation usually restores adequate blood supply to the heart and reduces the risk of heart attack. Bypass surgery can correct one or more blocked arteries.

Coronary arteries might become blocked with plaque, a fatty substance that reduces the amount of oxygen-rich blood that reaches the heart. Heart surgeons call the condition ischemic heart disease or coronary artery disease. Patients might notice chest pain and shortness of breath as signs that bypass cardiac surgery is needed.

During bypass cardiac surgery, the surgeon makes a long incision in the patient’s chest and separates the breastbone to gain access to the heart and aorta. A vein is taken from another part of the body, commonly from the leg, for use as the graft. One end of the vein is connected above or below the blocked heart artery, while the other is stitched onto the aorta. This graft bypasses the blockage by creating a detour.

Patients are usually hooked to a heart-lung machine because the heart is stopped during bypass cardiac surgery. The machine adds oxygen to the blood and moves it throughout the body to mimic the normal action of the heart. In patients who might suffer problems on the heart-lung machine, bypass cardiac surgery is done while the heart continues to beat.

After bypass cardiac surgery, patients typically recover in a special cardiac intensive care unit, where they are connected to several machines. Nurses keep a close watch on breathing, pulse, and temperature monitors for the first 24 hours after surgery. Drainage tubes in the chest remove excess fluid that might build up around the heart during the next few days. Most bypass cardiac surgery patients remain in the hospital up to a week.

They usually participate in cardiac rehabilitation while in the hospital and after returning home. Rehab helps the patient regain strength and return to normal activities during the recovery process. It usually includes information on healthy eating, exercise, and stress management to reduce the risk of heart disease. If poor health habits remain unchanged, the grafted vein could become blocked over time. Patients are commonly advised to keep cholesterol low and adhere to a low-fat diet.

Risks associated with bypass cardiac surgery include heart attack or stroke during the procedure. Some patients also suffer irregular heart rhythm after this operation. Other risks include loss of memory or confused thinking, and infection at the site of the chest or leg incisions.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.