Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG) | Torrance Memorial

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

US News Heart Bypass LogoCoronary Artery Bypass (CAB) surgery is a treatment option for coronary artery disease. CAB is the most common type of heart surgery. More than 300,000 people have successful bypass surgery in the United States each year. It is sometimes also called coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), coronary bypass or bypass surgery.


The surgery creates a new path for blood to flow to the heart. The surgeon takes a healthy piece of vein from the leg or artery from the chest or wrist. It is attached to the coronary artery, just above and below the narrowed area or blockage. This allows blood to bypass (get around) the blockage. Sometimes people need more than one bypass.

Your doctor may use a vein, called the saphenous vein, from your leg. One end of the graft will be sewn to your coronary artery, and the other end will be sewn to an opening made in your aorta.

A blood vessel in your chest, called the internal mammary artery (IMA), can also be used as a graft. One end of this artery is already connected to your aorta. The other end is attached to your coronary artery.

Other arteries can also be used for grafts in bypass surgery. The most common one is the radial artery in your wrist.

Cardiopulmonary Bypass (CPB)

  • The cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) is a technique that temporarily takes over the function of your heart and lungs during surgery, maintaining the circulation of blood and the oxygen content of your body.
  • The CPB pump itself is often referred to as a heart-lung machine or "the pump.” CPB mechanically circulates and oxygenates blood for your body while bypassing your heart and lungs. The heart-lung machine maintains perfusion (blood flow) to other body organs and tissues while the surgeon works in a bloodless surgical field.

Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass (OPCAB)

  • Surgery is done while your heart is still beating.
  • May be used in certain cases when this technique is deemed a better option for you.

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