What is coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)?

CABG is a type of surgery used to treat coronary heart disease. The aim of this surgery is to bypass the narrowed sections of coronary arteries.

The heart surgeon bypasses the narrowed sections by grafting a blood vessel between the aorta (the main artery leaving the heart) and a point in the coronary artery beyond the narrowed or blocked area. This allows blood to flow easily beyond the narrowed or blocked sections of the arteries.

Your heart surgeon can carry out a bypass graft surgery for each of the main coronary arteries affected and will take blood vessels from your chest wall, leg or arm.

CABG will help to manage your symptoms but it won’t cure coronary heart disease, so it’s possible that blockages may recur either in the grafts or in other coronary arteries. You might then need to have further surgery, although this is relatively uncommon. You may need to make lifestyle changes to help prevent your condition from getting worse.

Locations where coronary artery bypass grafting is offered:

Royal Brompton Hospital

Harefield Hospital

What are the benefits of coronary artery bypass grafting?

A successful surgery will reduce your symptoms from coronary heart disease such as angina and shortness of breath, as well as improving your quality of life. This type of surgery also reduces the risk of future heart attacks. In patients with severe coronary artery disease, then CABG may improve their life expectancy.

What are the risks coronary artery bypass grafting?

All medical procedures carry with them a degree of risk, although risks specific to CABG include:

  • temporary side effects related to wound healing (soreness, swelling, bruising, visible scarring)
  • rare complications such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.

What will happen if CABG is not performed?

Without CABG, the symptoms such as angina and shortness of breath will increase in frequency and worsen with time.

In addition, the risk of future heart attacks is higher and, in patients with severe coronary artery disease, the probability of long-term survival is likely to be reduced.

Are there any alternatives to coronary artery bypass grafting?

Percutaneous coronary intervention such as balloon angioplasty and stenting can be used to treat coronary artery disease, but is generally offered to patients whose condition is less advanced. Medical therapy (drugs) will only control the symptoms and will not stop coronary artery disease from getting worse.

Fixed price packages for self-funders

If you prefer to pay for your own inpatient treatment, we offer fixed price packages to help manage the cost of surgery and care while in hospital. As the treatment needs vary from patient to patient, you will need to provide an up-to-date medical report or referral to be reviewed by the agreed consultant.

A complimentary consultation to review this report and any test results you have can be arranged. This will determine whether you are eligible for our fixed package price.

Find out more about fixed price packages