Minimally Invasive Coronary Bypass Surgery
CABG (pronounced like the word "cabbage") stands for Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting. Coronary artery bypass (CABG) surgery, also referred to as Coronary Revascularization, reroutes blood flow around a blockage in the coronary artery so the heart muscle can maintain a good blood supply.
The heart-lung machine—cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB)—is one of cardiac surgery's most important inventions. A heart-lung machine allows surgeons to perform open-heart surgery safely and effectively, and has been used for more than 40 years. But there are risks associated with stopping the heart and temporarily replacing its functions with the heart-lung machine. Risks include potential bleeding, major stroke or minor neurological problems resulting in difficulties with understanding and memory.
Innovative advancements in CABG surgical techniques and equipment have allowed CABG surgery to be performed without a heart-lung machine.
How Beating Heart CABG / Off-pump CABG Surgery Is Performed
Beating heart CABG (BHCABG) surgery, also called off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery (OPCAB), reduces the risks associated with the use of the heart-lung machine. During a beating heart CABG surgery, the heart continues to beat while the surgeon performs the bypass grafts. The surgeon uses a stabilization device to still the small area of the beating heart where the bypass is being grafted.
The stabilization device utilizes small suction pods that gently attach to the surface of the heart. The pods work by lifting, not pushing down on the tissue, to stabilize the area where the surgeon will graft the bypass. The device is flexible so that it can be positioned on the heart vessels, yet sturdy so it can steady a portion of the beating heart while minimally affecting heart function.
Benefits of Beating Heart CABG / Off-pump CABG Surgery
Complete recovery from a traditional CABG surgery ranges from four to six weeks. In contrast, recovery time for patients with beating heart CABG surgery has been reported to be as short as three to four weeks. Patients are often awake much earlier after surgery and experience quicker recoveries than patients who have been placed on a heart-lung machine. Hospitalization is generally shorter when compared to traditional operations using cardiopulmonary bypass. Best of all, the risk of stroke and the need for blood transfusions is substantially reduced with beating heart CABG surgery.
You may be a candidate for Beating Heart CABG Surgery if you:
- Have single vessel disease.
- Are a new candidate for angioplasty or if you have recurrent problems after a previously successful angioplasty.
- Have undergone a conventional bypass surgery and now have recurring or new blockages in the grafts.
- Have medical problems such as decreased heart function or a history of stroke or pulmonary disease.
- Require a less-invasive form of surgery.
- Refuse blood products.
Each patient's diagnosis is unique and your physician will recommend the best approach for you.