8 Things You Should Know about a Heart Bypass Surgery

8 Things You Should Know about a Heart Bypass Surgery

If you are someone who has been advised to undergo a heart bypass surgery, knowing about the different aspects of the surgery will help you be well-prepared for the procedure. This can alleviate some of the anxiety and stress you may be experiencing before the heart bypass surgery.

Here, we have discussed 8 things you should know about a heart bypass.

A heart bypass surgery is used for treating narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. This is usually an open-heart surgery and would entail a stay at the hospital for some time.

A heart bypass surgery is used for treating conditions like coronary artery disease and angina. It is usually recommended under the following circumstances:

  • Severe chest pain caused because of narrowed coronary arteries
  • Presence of numerous diseased coronary arteries
  • Artery blockage that cannot be treated with angioplasty

For a heart bypass surgery, you will be given general anesthesia. The heart bypass procedure could last for about 3-6 hours.

In a heart bypass surgery, the cardiac surgeon bypasses the blocked artery by creating a new pathway with a blood vessel graft. The blood vessel graft could be obtained from your chest, arm, or your leg. After obtaining the graft vessels, the cardiac surgeon will make a large incision in your chest to access the heart. Your heart will be stopped for some time by giving medicines. The blood will be then redirected to a bypass machine which will pump the blood throughout the body. The cardiac surgeon will attach one part of the graft above and the other end below the blockage. This redirects the blood to reach the heart.

Your heart will be restarted by giving controlled electrical shocks. The incision will be then sutured.

A) Benefits of a bypass surgery:

  • Highly effective in eliminating discomfort because of blocked arteries
  • Could be life-saving if you are at risk of a heart attack or have had one
  • Could reduce issues like shortness of breath and angina because of diseased arteries

B) Risks of a heart bypass surgery:

  • Wound infection
  • Bleeding
  • blood clots
  • kidney failure

5. Cost of heart bypass surgery

The cost of heart bypass surgery varies depending on your location, the hospital where you are receiving the treatment, the credentials of your cardiac surgeon, and the type of surgical technique being used.

6. Steps to follow before a heart bypass surgery

Some of the steps you can follow to prepare for heart bypass surgery are:

  • Talk to your cardiac surgeon about the risks and recovery associated with the heart bypass. You should also discuss all the tests that you may have to undergo like a chest x-ray or blood count test before the procedure.
  • Eat healthy and exercise.
  • Quit smoking two weeks before the surgery
  • Plan your expenses
  • Discuss medications that you may have been taking with your doctor. You may have to stop taking some of these medications if your doctor says so.

7. Alternatives for bypass surgery

There are alternatives to bypass surgery such as coronary angioplasty and medicines. In coronary angioplasty, a balloon attached to a catheter is inserted into an artery through an incision made in your arm, wrist, or groin. The balloon is directed to the blocked artery where it is inflated. This widens the artery and pushes the fatty deposits toward the wall of the artery, thereby allowing the blood to flow through.

Sometimes, medications may be given to treat your coronary artery disease such as statins, antiplatelets, and beta blockers. These can alleviate the symptoms of your condition and prevent it from becoming worse. You should discuss all the possible alternatives to a heart bypass surgery before proceeding with it.

8. Recovery after heart bypass surgery

You have to stay in the hospital for around a week after a heart bypass. During this period, you shouldn’t miss any follow-up sessions. It may take about 4-6 weeks for you to recover completely.


Undergoing heart bypass surgery can be a life-changing event. You need to be sure you are making the right choice. By discussing the procedure in-depth and how it will affect your life, you can make an informed decision. Being assured also increases the possibility of a successful recovery.

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Last modified on blank at Apr 10, 2024

Reviewed By :- Guneet Bhatia

Urvi Agrawal

Urvi is an avid reader who is passionate about writing. Having worked in hospital settings like AIIMS, She has experience working as a healthcare writer and has written about many healthcare and medical topics. Besides her role as a content specialist, she likes to spend her time cooking, dancing, and painting. She believes that positive thinking is crucial for being happy.

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