Bypass surgery reroutes blood to the heart around a narrowed or blocked section of artery. During the procedure, your cardiovascular surgeon:
Bypass surgery generally takes between three to five hours, depending on the condition of the heart.
We perform several types of bypass surgery, including:
During this procedure, the surgeon will open the chest through a small incision to reach the heart. Your surgeon will then choose between performing the surgery on-pump or off-pump. If on-pump, a cardiopulmonary bypass machine will support you by circulating oxygenated blood through your body during the operation. From there, your surgeon will use healthy blood vessels from other areas of the body to bypass the diseased arteries of your heart.
Depending on how many arteries are blocked, your doctor will recommend a certain type of bypass surgery. For example, single bypass will be recommended for patients with only one blocked artery.
On-pump bypass surgery is the most common method. During the operation, your heart is stopped, and the heart-lung machine is used to circulate oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body. This is the traditional method for this procedure and a time-honored technique.
Also called “beating heart” surgery, this procedure takes place without the aid of a heart-lung machine. Instead of stopping the heart, your surgeon steadies small portions of it. The heart continues to pump and circulate blood while your surgeon performs bypass surgery.
As with any open-heart surgery, heart bypass surgery has its risks. Complications are rare but may include:
After bypass surgery, you can expect to spend a day or two in the intensive care unit. You will also begin cardiac rehab during your hospital stay with an expectation of returning home within a week. You will be expected to recover for six to 12 weeks before returning to your regular activities.
After bypass surgery, many people remain symptom-free for over 10 years. However, it’s possible for another artery or the bypass artery to become clogged over time, requiring another bypass surgery. Your results will partly depend on medication management and your determination to make healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking.
If you do not have a referral for heart bypass surgery, call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 to schedule an appointment with a general cardiologist to be evaluated.
If you have a referral for heart bypass surgery, contact the team at the facility where you want to have the procedure completed:
Allegheny General Hospital
320 East North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
2570 Haymaker Road
Monroeville, PA 15146
565 Coal Valley Road
Jefferson Hills, PA 15025
Saint Vincent Hospital
232 West 25th Street
Erie, PA 16544