Heart bypass surgery begins with an incision made in the chest, with the breastbone cut exposing the heart. Next, a portion of the saphenous vein is harvested from the inside of the leg. Pieces of this great vein will be used to bypass the blocked arteries in the heart. The venous graft is sewn to the aorta and to the affected coronary artery past the blocked site. The internal mammary artery from the chest may also be used to bypass a clogged artery. Several arteries may be bypassed depending on the condition of the heart.
Update Date 5/14/2012
Updated by: Shabir Bhimji MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.