In very simple terms, Coronary artery bypass surgery is performed when the coronary arteries are fully or partially blocked. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply the heart itself. The narrowing/blockage of these arteries may lead to a heart attack. Hence it is essential to keep the heart well supplied with blood.
The basic idea is to create an alternate pathway for the blood to flow through, ensuring proper blood supply to the heart. This is done by bypassing the coronary arteries using other blood vessels of the body. The vessels are generally taken from the legs, arms or chest. These can be safely removed for use in the heart. How the operation will be performed though depends on the specific case, and that can be determined after a consultation.
What you need to know
Over the past 3 decades, bypass surgery has become very efficient and pain free. Today we have better instruments, better grafts, better control of risk factors and very efficient drugs. Statistically, bypass grafts show excellent results even 15 years after surgery. 84% of all bypass patients lead perfectly healthy lives even 20 years after surgery. So in simple terms, you have excellent short term and mid-term results.
The remaining 16% of patients, who after 20 years of their initial operation require a second time bypass operation, can nowadays be offered safe redo surgery with experienced surgeons, with minimal complications.