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Heart bypass surgery

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)

Heart bypass surgery diverts blood around blocked arteries to improve blood flow and deliver oxygen to the heart muscle

About

During heart bypass surgery, healthy blood vessels from elsewhere in your body are transferred and grafted to your heart. This allows blood to be diverted around blocked or narrowed arteries to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood into your heart. The operation can relieve angina and help improve your quality of life. 

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    This procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic. During surgery, a healthy artery or vein is taken from another part of your body, usually your leg, arm or chest wall. For most heart operations, surgeons will use the traditional heart surgery technique which involves cutting the breastbone. Sometimes coronary artery bypass surgery can be carried out without stopping the heart. Your surgeon will graft a blood vessel between the aorta (the main vessel leaving the heart) and a point along the coronary artery, past the narrowed area. Surgery usually takes about three hours.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    You will be seen by your consultant who will discuss the reasons for recommending surgery. You will be told of the risks of the operation and the risks of not having surgery. All aspects of the procedure will be discussed including side effects. You may be asked to sign a consent form after everything has been explained (otherwise it will be signed on admission). As you're having a general anaesthetic, you'll be asked to stop eating and drinking for six hours beforehand.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Immediately after surgery, you'll be transferred to intensive care so you can be monitored until you wake up. Once your condition is stable, you'll be moved to the high dependency unit or the cardiac ward. You should be out of bed the next day, but you'll be cared for in hospital for around a week following your surgery and be given painkillers to relieve any pain. Once you've been discharged, you'll need help at home, so you should arrange for someone to stay with you for a couple of weeks following the procedure. You'll also need to arrange for someone help you get home from the hospital. You will not be able to drive for one month. You will be seen by your consultant about six weeks after the operation. You should make a full recovery after about three months depending on your fitness, age and how severe the problem was. Your consultant will let you know what to expect.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion. 

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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