CABG stands for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft. CABG is also known as Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery. CABG surgery is performed to encourage proper blood flow to the heart. This surgery is performed in the case of coronary heart diseases. Coronary heart disease is a defect wherein a thick substance called plaque starts developing inside the coronary arteries. These arteries are meant to supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Plaque is a substance which is formed by cholesterol, fat, and some calcium deposits which can be found in the blood. Plaque narrows the blood vessels of the heart causing restricted oxygenated blood supply to the heart. If this blockage increases then it might lead to Angina Pectoris or heart attack in common terms. CABG is considered one among several treatments available for Heart blockages and Angina. The purpose of CABG is to open the blocked arteries thus providing the heart muscles sufficient oxygenated blood supply.
Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Diseases:
ECG or Electrocardiogram is a method that helps in identifying the electrical activity of the heart. It is useful in predicting the oxygen starvation of the heart which is helpful in ruling out the heart attack.
A stress test is recommended to rule out CAD in which the physician will ask the patient to run on the treadmill or ride a stationary bike while taking the ECG. This type of stress test is known as an exercise stress test. Another variety includes a nuclear stress test in which there will be a measurement of blood flow to the heart at the time of rest and activity.
Few other tests include a heart scan and Angiogram. Cardiac catheterization is the most accurate method to evaluate a heart blockage.
Other Names of CABG and Risk Factors:
CABG is termed as Bypass Surgery, Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery, and Heart Bypass Surgery. It is not necessary that the person who is diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease needs to be treated with CABG. CABG is performed only when the damage is up to an extent where the normal lifestyle changes and diet modification will not prove to be helpful. Early stages of CAD will be monitored while the patient is on medications and the procedure Angioplasty is recommended in which a mesh-like substance is inserted into the artery to prevent clotting and encourage proper blood flow. This is also called a Stent placement. If the damage is beyond this then CABG is recommended.
Although the exact cause of CAD is not known but many types of research have lead to the conclusion that the Atherosclerotic process or blockage is triggered by hypertension, in frequent smokers, people with heavy use of alcohol, those who have elevated levels of cholesterol due to a sedentary lifestyle, and people with hormonal problems like Diabetes. People who are age 50 and above are at a greater risk of developing CAD.
When is CABG Required?
The CABG surgery is performed when the patient is already under angina and other treatments fail to provide a satisfactory result.
Those who are not in a state for Angioplasty.
Patients who have multiple blockages or those who have multiple narrowing of arteries of the heart.
Benefits of CABG:
CABG is performed to achieve a better life for the patient and improve the overall quality of life.
Decrease the chances of angina.
To improve the mechanism of heart by enhancing the blood pumping activity of the heart if it is damaged due to a heart attack.
The chances of survival increase with CABG.
Types of CABG:
CABG is classified based on the number of blockages, arterial or venous blockage, on-pump, and off-pump.
Arterial graft: This includes the internal thoracic arteries which are the most common bypass graft. This offers long term results.
The radial artery is the second most common grafts that include the radial and ulnar arteries of the arm. If the radial artery is used for graft then the physician will put the patient on calcium channel blocker medication.
Venous grafts: the saphenous veins of the leg are used as bypass grafts.
On-pump and Off-pump:
on-pump is the traditional bypass surgery, the surgeon will put the patient on medications due to which the Heart is paralyzed for a certain duration of time and the surgery can be performed while the heart is at rest and the function of the heart is carried out by a heart-lung machine.
Off-pump is the beating heart bypass surgery in which the heart continues to perform its function while the surgery is carried out.
Based on the Number: This includes single bypass, double bypass, triple bypass, quadruple bypass. The bypass is done based on the number of arteries blocked.
1. What is the Purpose of CABG?
Ans: This is basically a procedure performed to improve blood flow to the heart and remove the blockages.
2. Is CABG a Major Surgery?
Ans: Yes CABG is a major surgery that requires weeks or months to completely recover from.