Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts are a procedure that is performed to treat life-threatening occlusions in the coronary arteries of the heart. These occlusions impair the circulation to the heart muscle and can cause a heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction. Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) surgery is performed to create new routes for blood to reach the heart muscle (or myocardium).
This procedure can be performed with or without the utilization of the cardiopulmonary bypass machine, often referred to as the bypass pump. During an on-pump procedure the mechanical bypass pump performs the functions of the heart and lungs by moving blood through the body while the bypass grafts are being placed on the heart. This allows for a motionless, bloodless environment during the surgical procedure, which is optimal. Off-pump surgery refers to a technique in which only the portion of the heart where the graft will be applied is stabilized, and the heart continues to beat throughout the surgery. These techniques are both commonly used for bypass grafting and are tailored specifically by the surgeon to a patient’s clinical condition and coronary anatomy.