Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery


Who is it for?

Treatment for coronary artery disease (CAD), the disease process that causes blockages in your heart arteries, is not one-size-fits-all. Your healthcare team will evaluate the extent and location of blockages in your heart arteries and your overall health before making recommendations about the best heart disease treatment for you.

Your doctor may recommend coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) if you have serious heart disease-causing symptoms, such as chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or fatigue, that prevent you from being active. CABG is also sometimes used to treat a heart attack. In both cases, CABG works by restoring blood flow to the heart muscle.

Not all patients with heart disease will be treated with CABG. In some cases, blockages may be treated with minimally invasive procedures using balloons and stents (angioplasty and stenting). 

For some patterns of CAD, CABG will be the only recommended option. Blockages that, when severe, are commonly treated by CABG include the following:

  • The left main coronary artery, which supplies most of the blood to the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber of the heart)
  • In three or more blood vessels, especially when the patient also has diabetes
  • At places where the arteries branch

Treatment decisions will involve conversations with your doctor about the benefits and risks of one or more treatment paths and your goals for treatment. Your treating doctor will make a recommendation in consultation with you and based on practice guidelines, experience treating patients, and education and training.