How is Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery Done?
Today Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG) is the commonest heart surgery done throughout the world. Millions of patients underwent this surgery with gratifying results to the patient and with very low operative risk in most of the patients. In this when coronary arteries (blood vessels that supply blood to the heart) are blocked by deposits of fats (atherosclerosis), either arteries or veins taken from the patient’s body elsewhere are used to bypass the blocks to give blood.
What is Minimal Access Bypass Surgery?
- Traditionally bypass surgery is done through a 20-25 cm incision on the front of the chest and after splitting of the breast bone (median sternotomy) .
- Then after stopping the heart, bypass surgery is done. During this time blood circulation is maintained using artificial heart-lung machine. Artificial heart-lung machine can cause damage to the blood resulting in bleeding, kidney problems, strokes in some patients.
- Because of the large cut on the front of the chest and splitting of the bone, patients need 2-3 months of rest before getting back to work. Due to this sometimes, patients refuse bypass surgery and opt for angioplasty and stenting even though surgery is the right treatment for them.
Minimal Access Heart Surgery Techniques:
- Recently for suitable patients, minimal access heart surgery techniques were developed. For these patients, bypass surgery can be done through a small incision on the left side of the chest below the nipple without cutting bones.
- This can be offered to even patients who need 3-4 bypass grafts. Pain is less, infections are less.
- Patients recover faster and can go back to work in 3-4 weeks’ time. Incisions also have cosmetic advantage.
Dr. A.G.K.Gokhale is one of the very few surgeons in India who has large experience in minimal access bypass surgery. For the first time in India, he did 5 bypass grafts for a patient through minimal access approach. He regularly conducts live workshops in minimal access heart surgery to train heart surgeons.