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Bypass surgery is one way to treat coronary artery disease. Watch this narrated animation to learn more about how this surgery is performed. (Animation provided courtesy of Medtronic.)
Bypass surgery is performed by a cardiovascular surgeon, a medical specialist trained in surgical procedures to treat conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. The procedure is done in a hospital operating room.
To perform bypass surgery, surgeons take a section of a healthy artery or vein from the leg (called the saphenous vein) or from another part of the body. They then attach (or graft) it upstream and downstream from the blockage on the affected heart artery. This creates a “bypass” through which blood may flow around the blockage to the heart muscle.
Who may be referred for bypass surgery? People who have chest pain that prevents them from being active often find relief with bypass surgery. Those with coronary artery disease for whom interventional procedures, such as angioplasty and stenting, are not recommended may also be referred for bypass surgery.