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Experts at these hospitals perform coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery:

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Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery

Your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. When the arteries, which carry blood to the heart muscle, become blocked with plaque (fatty deposits), your doctor may want you to have a type of heart surgery called coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery.

CABG surgery is done when plaque blocks the coronary artery. Blood stops flowing through the vessels which feed the heart muscle.

During bypass surgery, your surgeon will take a blood vessel, usually from your leg and/or chest wall, and use it to make another path for blood around your blocked artery to the heart muscle. By bypassing the blockage, blood is able to flow to your heart muscle.

Sometimes, more than one artery needs to be bypassed. When this is done, you may hear the surgery called a double-, triple- or quadruple-bypass surgery.

During heart surgery

During heart surgery, you will be connected to a heart-lung machine.

  • The "lung" portion of the machine supplies oxygen to your blood.
  • The "heart" portion of the machine pumps blood throughout your body.

After heart surgery

After surgery, it's not unusual to hear popping and clicking in your chest, though it can be unsettling. This is part of the healing process as your bones and cartilage heal from surgery.

It's very important to follow your doctor's instructions about arm movements and lifting so that your body heals properly.

If you feel grating of the sternum in the middle of your chest, call your surgeon.

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Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart.

Learn more about electrocardiograms in our health library.

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Ultrasound involves the use of high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs and systems within the body.

Learn more about ultrasound in our health library.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648
Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 06/01/2007