CORONARY ARTERY BYPASS GRAFT SURGERY
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) or more popularly Heart Bypass or simply Bypass Surgery is a surgical procedure relief from chest pain that occurs when any area of the heart muscle doesn't get adequate amount of oxygen rich blood. This surgery thus restores the customary level of the blood flow to the heart muscle (medical term 'Myocardium').
Bypass surgery or CABG is usually performed with the heart stopped, thereby entailing the use of Heart Lung Machine. The surgery can also be performed on a beating heart, so known as 'Off-Pump Surgery'.
CABG is the most effective treatment for Coronary Heart Disease (CAD) – a condition in which plaque (a substance made up of fat / cholesterol / calcium) builds up inside the coronary arteries thereby narrowing them & affecting the regular flow of oxygen rich blood to the heart. CABG significantly improves the chances of survival of patients who are at high risk. In CABG, the surgeon uses a piece of vein or artery from other part of the patients body to bypass the blocked or narrowed section of the coronary artery. This is done by using the vein or the artery for joining the upper & below sections of the blocked coronary artery. Depending on the severity of the blockages, some patients need more than one graft.
ECG (Electrocardiography), Stress Test, Echocardiography (Ultrasound Imaging of the Heart) and Coronary Angiography are some of the tests available for the diagnosis of CAD (Coronary Artery Disease). Cardiac Catheterization in combination with Angiography is the most accurate diagnostic test available. Equally effective is Stress Echocardiography – the combination of Echocardiograph with Stress Test Exercises. The accuracy of Stress Echocardiography can be increased by intravenously adding a nuclear agent (Thallium or Cardiolite). Addition of the nuclear agent facilitates nuclear imaging of the blood flow to different regions of the heart. Any area of the heart receiving reduced blood flow during the exercises but receiving regular blood flow when not exercising signifies artery narrowing.