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Off-Pump Bypass

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery

When one or more of the main blood vessels feeding the heart is blocked, a procedure called coronary artery bypass graft (CABG, often pronounced "cabbage") can improve blood flow to the heart.

What is "on-pump" bypass surgery?

CABG surgery involves taking one or more segments of healthy blood vessels from other parts of the body and grafting them to the heart to bypass clogged arteries. The surgery, which can take four to five hours, typically includes stopping the heart and placing the patient on a heart-lung machine (the "pump"), which maintains the circulation. It takes blood from the heart, adds oxygen, and then pumps it back into the body.

What is "off-pump" bypass surgery?

Advances in medical technology have enabled surgeons to perform this surgery "off-pump," while the heart is beating, without the need for a heart-lung machine. A stabilizing device is placed on the surface of the heart, limiting the motion on the area of the heart to be operated on, allowing it to continue beating and circulating blood while a bypass graft is sewn in place.

This "beating heart" surgery is not necessarily indicated for everyone. In fact, at the CardioVascular Institute (CVI), it is used for less than 10 percent of the more than 300 CABG procedures performed each year. But for high-risk patients, it keeps bypass surgery open as a treatment option when it might otherwise be ruled out.

Am I a candidate for "off-pump" bypass surgery?

" Candidates for off-pump bypass surgery are patients at high risk for conventional surgery because of issues like calcified aortas that cannot be clamped or manipulated or advanced kidney disease," said CVI Cardiac Surgeon Dr. David Liu.

"While the results of both on- and off-pump bypass surgeries are excellent, off-pump techniques are important tools to help achieve better outcomes for certain high-risk patients."

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted August 2010

Contact Information

CardioVascular Institute at
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215