Plaque is a build-up of cholesterol, fat, and calcium. Over time plaque narrows your arteries and potentially closes off blood flow to areas of the heart muscle causing a heart attack. Normally, the walls of your hollow, tube-shaped arteries are smooth and elastic.
Atherosclerosis occurs when the lining of your arteries deteriorate and thicken with plaque deposits and is commonly known as “hardening of the arteries” or coronary heart disease.
Coronary bypass surgery redirects blood flow to the heart by bypassing blocked or narrowed arteries and restores the supply of oxygenated blood to the heart using other arteries or veins as “grafts.”
Over 800,000 coronary artery bypass surgeries are performed worldwide every year. Coronary bypass surgeries are possible due to the use of a heart-lung perfusion machine which performs the pumping and oxygenation functions of the heart while tiny arteries and veins are sewn together to create a new path for blood flow.
A minimally invasive bypass or keyhole surgery may be used in some cases. Instead of the patient’s chest being opened and separated at the breastbone, the surgeon makes small incisions between the ribs on the left side of the chest to access the heart. The surgeon will help you decide which surgery may be best for you.