Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG)

Coronary artery bypass graft surgery – most commonly referred to as "bypass surgery" and sometimes called CABG (pronounced "cabbage") – is a common heart surgery that reroutes, or bypasses, blood around clogged arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen to the heart.

Inova is a high-volume center for CABG procedures which has consistently maintained survival rates that exceed national benchmarks and we are recognized by the Society of Thoracic Surgery with the highest rating for overall quality. We offer both traditional open CABG surgery as well as a less invasive option for robotic-assisted CABG. Our team will partner with the patient to determine which approach is the best fit, based on that individual’s risk factors and specific needs.

Blocked arteries can slow or stop blood flow through the heart's blood vessels, leading to chest pain or a heart attack. Increasing blood flow to the heart muscle can relieve chest pain and reduce the risk of heart attack.

This surgery is often performed in people who have angina (chest pain) and coronary artery disease (where plaque has built up in the arteries). During the surgery, a bypass is created by grafting a piece of a vein above and below the blocked area of a coronary artery, enabling blood to flow around the obstruction. Veins are usually taken from the leg, but arteries from the chest or arm may also be used to create a bypass graft.

A patient may undergo one, two, three or more bypass grafts, depending on how many coronary arteries are blocked. Cardiopulmonary bypass with a pump oxygenator (heart-lung machine) is used for most coronary bypass graft operations. This means that besides the surgeon, other surgical staff members include a cardiac anesthesiologist, surgical nurses, and a perfusionist. 

During the past several years, more surgeons have started performing off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery (OPCAB). In it, the heart continues beating while the bypass graft is sewn in place. In some patients, OPCAB may reduce intraoperative bleeding and the need for blood transfusion, renal complications and postoperative neurological deficits (problems after surgery).

After surgery, patients are usually enrolled in a physician-supervised program of cardiac rehabilitation. Patients are often advised to eat foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat and to avoid trans fat while increasing daily physical activity to help regain strength.

Conditions Treated by Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG)

Conditions treated at Inova with coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) include:

  • Blockages in the arteries of the heart
  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Coronary artery disease, where plaque has built up in the arteries

Our Team

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery is performed by cardiac surgeons on patients with severe Coronary Artery Disease.

Our expert team of cardiac surgeons have consistently received high performing rankings for bypass by US News & World Report and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.