Private heart bypass surgery (CABG)

Heart bypass surgery (CABG) is a treatment for coronary heart disease. The coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedure helps to restore blood flow to the heart where arteries have become blocked, a condition which can result in pain in the chest or more serious cardiovascular complications. 

Enquiries & Appointments

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At HCA UK, we can offer you rapid access to multidisciplinary teams of cardiac specialists who will provide you with the most effective care.

  • Appointments with leading heart care consultants confirmed within 24 hours
  • Ranked No. 1 for private cardiac care in the UK, including cardiac surgery, with outstanding outcomes (99.6% survival rate in 2023)
  • We’re leaders in minimal access cardiac surgery, and 99% of our cardiac patients would recommend us to their family and friends

Why might I need heart bypass surgery?

If you have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, you may need bypass surgery to treat a narrowing or blockage of one or more of your coronary arteries that supply blood to your heart. Fatty deposits of plaque build up inside the arteries, making it more difficult for blood to flow through freely. This condition is called atherosclerosis.

Sometimes, people may have early coronary artery disease without showing any symptoms. If left untreated, the disease will continue to progress and could cause serious complications and increase the risk of permanent damage to the heart.

Heart bypass surgery may be recommended if you are showing signs of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Palpitations
  • Fatigue

A heart bypass operation may also be carried out as an emergency treatment if you have had a heart attack and other treatments are not working.

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Get access to leading cardiac specialists

If you are experiencing symptoms of coronary heart disease and would like to speak to someone about your concerns, we can provide you with rapid access to diagnostic tests to establish the best course of action.

We'll confirm an appointment with a cardiovascular specialist within 24 hours. We also have a dedicated GP hotline and GP clinics where you can speak with an expert for insight and support on a same-day or next-day schedule.

Why choose HCA UK

#1 for private heart bypass surgery in the UK

  • Rated No. 1 for private cardiac care: We do more private CABGs, including minimally invasive, than any other provider. 99% of people say they would recommend us to their friends and family. With a 99.6% coronary artery bypass surgery survival rate, you can be confident you're in safe hands.
  • Multidisciplinary teams: We have over 235 cardiovascular consultants who are supported by a wider team of specialists that include doctors, clinical nurses, surgeons and physiotherapists, who will work together to make sure you receive exceptional care and support.
  • High-quality facilities: We have a vast network of state-of-the-art facilities including five cardiac centres and six cardiac theatres, where you'll receive the highest standard of care before, during and after your procedure.
  • Fast access to diagnosis, tests and treatment: If you are concerned about symptoms of coronary heart disease or have been recommended for a heart bypass procedure, we'll confirm an appointment with a specialist cardiologist within 24 hours.

What is heart bypass surgery?

Heart bypass surgery is usually undertaken to divert blood around blocked arteries to improve blood flow and deliver oxygen to the heart muscle.

During heart bypass surgery, healthy blood vessels from elsewhere in your body – usually your arm, leg or chest wall – 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 symptoms such as angina, improve your quality of life and help reduce the risk of more serious heart conditions.

Types of heart bypass surgery

There are several other variations on the conventional heart bypass procedure, as different techniques may be better suited for people's particular needs. These include:

Off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery

While, in the most common form of heart bypass surgery, the heart is stopped by using a heart-lung bypass machine, during this procedure your heart is still beating while the new blood vessels are attached. This operation can take less time to perform and your recovery period can be shorter.

Minimally invasive CABG

This variation of the surgery does not require a large incision in your breastbone, with surgeons accessing your heart to carry out the bypass by making smaller incisions through your ribcage. This could also be referred to as port access or keyhole surgery.

Hybrid heart bypass surgery

Surgeons may decide to use a combination of techniques when undertaking a heart bypass operation. This often involves using robot-assisted CABG alongside non-CABG techniques such as stenting in additional damaged arteries.

London Heart Practice

Leading specialists in heart bypass surgery

At HCA UK, our expert teams of multidisciplinary specialists will be there with you throughout the entire process, from the initial consultation and finding the best treatment for you through to your rehabilitation and recovery after the surgery.

Heart bypass surgery FAQs

If you have coronary heart disease, having heart bypass surgery can help to improve your quality of life. People may suffer from shortness of breath, fatigue and palpitations as a result of coronary heart disease, symptoms which a heart bypass operation can help to alleviate.

In more serious cases, it can help reduce your risk of major heart conditions such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), angina, stroke and heart attack.

Heart bypass surgery is a major operation and, as with any surgery, it comes with potential risks and complications. Our expert consultants and cardiologists will be there to offer you guidance and discuss the potential risks with you ahead of your procedure.

Some of the possible complications associated with heart bypass surgery include:

  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias)
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Infections
  • Temporary breathing problems
  • Pneumonia
  • Kidney problems or kidney failure
  • Temporary memory issues
  • Side effects from general anaesthesia such as confusion, sickness or dizziness
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure 

Depending on the individual, there may be contributing factors that mean you are more likely to be at risk of complications following your heart bypass procedure. These can include your age and whether you have any other serious health conditions such as diabetes, COPD or kidney disease. As with any other major operation, open-heart surgery carries the risk of death; however, at HCA UK, the survival rate of CABG operations is 99.6%.

You will be seen by your specialist consultant and a cardiac surgery clinical nurse specialist 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, including side effects, will be discussed with your expert team ahead of the procedure. As you're having a general anaesthetic, you'll be asked to stop eating and drinking for six hours beforehand.


Before surgery is confirmed, you will have to undergo a series of tests. These will help to establish as much detail as possible about your case and determine the best treatment for your condition. These tests may include:

Our leading team of specialists will also provide you with a detailed plan of what you need to do ahead of your admission into one of our hospitals for your heart bypass procedure, as well as advice for preparations for your eventual discharge which you can make ahead of time.

This will include advice on the medications you may need to take, what type of food and drink you can have after the procedure, and what sort of care you will need at home while you recover.


A conventional heart bypass operation is a major procedure that is done in a hospital and generally lasts between three and four hours. This will depend on how many blood vessels are being harvested and reattached during the procedure.

Under general anaesthetic, your surgeon will harvest blood vessels from other parts of your body such as the legs or arms before an incision is made in your breastbone so that there is clear access to your heart. The heart is temporarily stopped with medicine; you will be placed on a heart-lung machine that keeps blood and oxygen pumping around the body.
The cardiovascular surgeon will then take the harvested blood vessel or vessels and graft them around the blocked artery, creating a new pathway for your blood supply around the blockage.

Once the grafts have been attached, your heart will be restarted, your breastbone will be wired shut and you will be sewn up with stitches so the incision can heal.


Immediately after heart bypass surgery, you'll be transferred to a cardiac intensive care unit 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 by our dedicated team for around a week following your heart bypass procedure and will 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 to help you get home from the hospital, and you will not be able to drive for one month.

You should be able to do light activities such as walking short distances or lifting light objects within the first few days after your discharge, with more strenuous activities to follow within the coming weeks.

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 cardiac consultant will be on hand to let you know what to expect and to offer you support throughout your recovery.

Alternatives to heart bypass surgery

The severity of your coronary heart disease will ultimately determine what sort of treatment is required, and your consultant will be there to help you make the choice that is right for you. Alternative treatments to heart bypass surgery include:

Coronary angioplasty and stenting

If the arteries around your heart are too narrow, heart bypass surgery may not be the best option for you. Instead, you could be offered an alternative procedure known as a coronary angioplasty.

During a coronary angioplasty, a small tube called a catheter is inserted into the narrowed or blocked arteries that supply blood to the heart and is inflated to widen the wall of the artery. A stainless steel stent is then put inside the artery to help the blood flow normally.

This procedure is minimally invasive, which means your recovery time will be shorter than a heart bypass operation.


In some instances, it's possible to treat and control symptoms of coronary heart disease with a number of different medications.

You may be prescribed antiplatelets, which prevent the blood from clotting and reduce the risk of heart attacks. Alternatively, other medications such as statins or beta blockers can help reduce the risk of other serious conditions such as angina or stroke.

How to reduce future risks after heart bypass surgery

Although a heart bypass procedure can help alleviate any symptoms or pain you experience, it is not a cure for coronary heart disease. After your operation, your long-term outcome will depend on how well you look after yourself and the lifestyle you adopt.

You can reduce your risk of further heart problems in the future through:

  • Healthy eating
  • Regular exercise
  • Not smoking or using tobacco products
  • Managing your weight
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Reducing your stress levels
  • Drinking less alcohol

You may also be offered medication to help manage your condition after heart bypass surgery and avoid future risks to your heart health.

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How to pay for your heart bypass surgery

The cost of your private heart bypass surgery will be determined by your consultant and will be discussed with you ahead of the procedure. 

There are two ways for you to pay for your cardiac care. You can choose to pay for your care privately; if so, we will provide you with a quote for your heart bypass surgery so you will be fully aware of how much it will cost.

Alternatively, you could contact your medical insurance provider to find out what conditions and treatments you're covered for. When speaking to your medical insurance provider, we advise you mention HCA UK and your preferred consultant's name if you want to be seen by the UK's #1 private provider of cardiac care.

Find a consultant

Find a heart bypass surgery specialist

At HCA UK, we have a leading team of multidisciplinary cardiac specialists, including cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, who will use their combined expert knowledge to make sure you receive the highest level of care.

Our consultant finder categorises our cardiologists based on their patient ratings, experience and expertise, so you can browse their profiles to find your preferred specialist. Once you have identified a specialist for your heart bypass surgery, you'll be able to book an appointment with them directly.

Our locations

The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
London Bridge Hospital

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street SE1 2PR London
The Wellington Hospital

The Wellington Hospital

8A Wellington Place NW8 9LE London
How to book an appointment

Request an appointment

Our specialist consultants are here to help you if symptoms of coronary heart disease are affecting your quality of life. We can identify the most effective treatment for your condition, possibly including a heart bypass procedure, and you'll get an appointment confirmed with us 24 hours after your initial enquiry.

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