Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

Adelaide Cardiothoracic > Heart Surgery > Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting


Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a surgical procedure for ischaemic heart disease – a disease that is caused by the gradual build-up of fat and calcium within the walls of the arteries of the heart causing them to narrow.  This build-up reduces the blood flow to the heart’s muscle which can cause chest pain (angina) and if the narrowing becomes very severe or completely blocked it can cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction).

CABG involves bypassing these narrowings or blockages using a graft. The graft goes around the blockage in the artery to create a new pathway and restore the oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart.

CABG surgery is performed to relieve symptoms (including angina and shortness of breath) and to reduce the risk of a heart attack or other heart problems.

About the surgery

A general anaesthetic is used. First, the surgeon prepares the graft(s), which can be either an artery or vein or a combination. These come from multiple places, including inside the chest (the internal mammary arteries), leg (saphenous veins), or forearm (radial arteries).  Sewing the grafts to the heart is traditionally performed on a still, non-beating heart whilst the patient is on a heart-lung machine (“on-pump surgery”). Alternatively, it can be performed on a beating heart without the heart-lung machine (“off-pump surgery”) in selected patients. Adelaide Cardiothoracic’s surgeons are experienced in both techniques.

For more information:

Read the Heart Foundation Book:

Heart Information: Bypass

Or visit:

Cleveland Clinic CABG
myDr Australia: Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery