When you experience chest pain, blood clots or even a heart attack due to blocked arteries, it can be frightening. All you want is your heart to get back to working the way it should – and we’re here to help.
Our experienced heart surgeons perform coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), pronounced like “cabbage,” to treat coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD is the buildup of plaque (cholesterol and other fatty substances) in the heart’s arteries. This buildup can restrict blood flow to the heart and lead to angina (chest pain) and heart attack.
CABG may lower your risk of having a heart attack. It helps many people live without heart symptoms for 10 to 15 years after surgery. And at Aurora Health Care, we perform nearly 1,000 CABG procedures every year, with excellent results.
We provide the vast majority of Wisconsin’s coronary bypass surgeries – nearly three times as many as other local hospitals, in 2015. People choose Aurora Health Care because of our legacy of excellence, including:
Coronary artery bypass grafting is open heart surgery. It is the most common type of open heart surgery in the U.S.
For people with CAD, coronary bypass surgery makes a new path for blood to flow when the coronary arteries become blocked. These arteries are the main blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle.
If you have CAD in more than one coronary artery, our surgeons can bypass multiple arteries during one surgical procedure.
Coronary artery disease results from plaque (fatty deposits including cholesterol, fat, calcium and other substances) building up in the heart’s arteries.
Plaque develops as a result of damage to the inner layers of coronary arteries caused by:
Over time, the coronary arteries harden and narrow, causing chest pain. If the plaque ruptures, blood clots can form at the injury site. A large clot can partially or completely block a heart artery, causing a heart attack.
Read more about the heart and vascular conditions we treat.
Traditional CABG surgery is an open heart surgery, in which surgeons open the chest and breastbone to access the heart. The surgery takes a few hours, and people usually return home within a week.
In CABG surgery, the surgeon creates a new path for blood to reach your heart. To complete the bypass, the surgeon:
Doctors can bypass one artery or multiple arteries during the same procedure.
Read more details about open heart surgery.
In most cases, the surgery takes three to five hours. Afterward, you’ll recover in our intensive care unit (ICU).
A few days after surgery, your doctor will remove your chest drainage tubes and temporary pacing wires. Most people go home in four to six days.
As with all types of heart surgery, we recommend that you attend cardiac rehabilitation to regain your strength. We offer cardiac rehab at locations throughout eastern Wisconsin. Find out more about cardiac rehabilitation.
Depending on your individual situation, we may be able to manage artery blockages in other ways. Alternative treatments include: