Cardiac Bypass Surgery

The Swedish Heart and Vascular Institute is the most comprehensive heart-surgery program in the area, with nationally recognized cardiac surgeons who treat the full spectrum of heart problems, including bypass surgery. This involves using some of the most advanced surgical techniques available, such as minimally invasive, videoscopic-assisted valve repair and replacement.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG)

Each year, an estimated 800,000 patients around the world have coronary artery bypass surgery. Bypass surgery restores normal blood flow to the heart by using a blood vessel graft to bypass one or more blocked arteries. These grafts usually come from the patient’s own arteries and veins located in the chest (internal mammary artery), leg (saphenous vein) or arm (radial artery). The graft goes around the blocked artery or arteries to create new pathways for blood flow to the heart. The goals of the procedure are to relieve symptoms of coronary artery disease (including angina), enable the patient to resume a normal lifestyle, and lower the risk of heart attack or other heart problems.

Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (OPCAB)

OPCAB is a procedure in which surgeons operate on the heart while it is still beating – instead of placing the patient on a heart-lung machine. A medication may be given to slow the heart during surgery, but it continues to beat. This surgery may not be suitable for all patients. With OPCAB, patients may avoid possible complications associated with a heart-lung machine and tend to recover more quickly.

Minimally Invasive Vein Harvesting Techniques

Certain veins, especially the saphenous vein in the leg, are commonly used to create alternate routes around blocked arteries during heart and others types of bypass surgery. Previously, the removal of these veins required incisions that might be as long as 40 centimeters (more than 12 inches). By using new minimally invasive approaches, however, these veins can now be removed through a few small incisions of only 3 or 4 centimeters each. At Swedish, surgeons use the VasoView® System. This leading-edge technology was designed to minimize the scarring and risk of infection associated with traditional harvesting techniques.