What is CABG?
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) surgery is used in the treatment of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). The CABG surgery comes into the reckoning when the coronary arteries (blood vessels supplying oxygen to the heart) clogs up. This is due to fats accumulating within the artery walls. Such clogging results in less oxygen supplied to the heart.
Medical science has not found the exact symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). But like an undetected devil within, the CAD continues to wreak havoc within the bodily machinery.
A clogged up coronary artery is a serious issue that needs medical attention. A decrease in blood supply to the heart can cause a heart attack. The heart, and the person carrying such a heart, can get into a dangerous and fatal situation if the heart does not get sufficient blood/oxygen supply.
Fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, abnormal heart rhythms, and chest pain are some of the common symptoms of CAD.
The Coronary artery bypass surgery clears blockage of coronary arteries and helps the heart muscle received sufficient blood supply.
How to treat the blocked or narrowed arteries? One solution is bypassing the clogged area of the coronary artery with another blood vessel. Such blood vessels (or graft) could be taken from a chest artery or veins of the legs. Now the lifesaving blood gets a different route, bypassing the blockage, and gets to where it is needed in the heart.
Endoscopic vein harvesting and endoscopic radial artery harvesting are two other surgical innovations used in CABG. Here, surgeons use an endoscope (an optical, slender and tubular instrument that helps a surgeon peer deep into the body) to locate blood vessels that can serve the purpose of bypassing blocked coronary arteries.
Post-surgical care includes helping patients and family members to take measures to avoid problems for the recovering heart. These steps include a proper healthy diet, avoiding smoking, regular exercise, keep high blood pressure under check, keep cholesterol levels under check. And also, of course, reduce stress and tensions that can lead to increased heartbeats.
Narayana Hrudayalaya conducted an online Q&A webinar with Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, leading cardiac surgeon and Chairman of Narayana Hospitals. This question was asked:
My mother is 58 years old and had undergone a CABG, a few years ago. What precautions should be followed, in order to avoid the occurrence of another heart attack?
Dr. Shetty (with over 30 years of cardiac surgical experience) said: the occurrence for a second heart attack nearing the 60-year mark is rare. Cardiac diseases become less aggressive with age. However, patients who have undergone a CABG in the past should not take this information for granted, but should strictly continue their routine checkups and daily medications for a healthier and safer heart.
Dr. Devi Shetty, leading Cardiac surgeon and Chairman of Narayana Hospitals, Narayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences, Bommasandra, Bangalore