Heart Bypass Surgery

During the bypass, your surgeon has two options:

  1. Stop the heart and use a Heart-lung machine (On-pump)
  2. Keep your heart beating during the operation (Off-pump)

On-pump Bypass

Bypass procedures became routine in the 1960s, following the invention of the Heart-lung machine. The Heart-lung machine is a device that temporarily does the job of the heart and lungs while the heart is stopped during CABG surgery. It supplies oxygen to the blood and keeps blood circulating while a surgeon is sewing the grafts.

Once the operation is complete, the heart is returned to its normal rhythm and the Heart-lung machine is no longer needed.

The Heart-lung machine made it possible for surgeons to save the lives of millions of patients. However, there are risks involved in its use, especially for high-risk patients such as women, the elderly, and those with diabetes or kidney disease. These patients are more likely to experience complications due to coronary surgery.

Off-pump Bypass

For some patients, use of the Heart-lung machine can add increased risk to their operation, or their surgeon may prefer to keep the heart beating during the operation to minimize the risk of certain complications.