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 6/2/2014
Updated by: Norman S. Kato, MD, Surgeon with the Cardiac Care Medical Group, Encino, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.