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This surgery is done to improve the blood flow in a narrowed or blocked artery. During CABG, a vein from the leg(s), arm(s) and/or an artery from the chest are used to construct a detour around the blockage. Your doctor will decide which type of graft should be used depending on the number and location of your blockages.
If the left internal mammary artery is used, the artery is re-routed from its original position in the chest to the blocked coronary artery. This surgery allows oxygen rich blood to flow directly from the aorta through the graft, bypassing the obstruction and nourishing the heart muscle. If a leg vein is used, the blood flow to the leg will not be disturbed and your ability to walk will not be bothered.
Once the vein is removed, one end is sewn (“grafted”) into the side of the aorta, and the other is sewn into the coronary artery at a point below the blockage.
Several bypass grafts may be necessary to improve circulation to the heart muscle, relieve symptoms of angina and improve heart function. To help the bypass graft remain open, you need to make lifestyle changes to alter the modifiable risk factors that originally led to the problem.