Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) is performed on patients who are suffering from coronary artery disease (CAD). It is the most common type of heart disease and also the leading cause of death worldwide. It occurs due to the blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries. It can also lead to angina and heart attack.


Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease


  • Chest pain
  • Painful, burning, aching and feeling of discomfort in your chest also known as Angina.
  • Nausea, Weakness or dizziness
  • Breath Shortness
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Sweating


CABG Surgery


The process of CABG involves connecting or grafting a healthy vein or artery from the body, to the clogged/blocked coronary artery. The graft creates a new passage for the oxygen-rich blood to reach the heart. We have cardiovascular surgeons coming from India to Papua New Guinea, who have extensive experience performing coronary artery bypass. The surgery generally takes between 3-5 hours and requires anaesthesia.


There are various other names for CABG, such as;


  • Heart bypass surgery
  • Bypass surgery
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery


The best part about the CABG surgery is the fact that it has an amazing success rate, as 85% of patients report significant improvement in their lives.


Types of CABG:


Traditional CABG:

It is one of the most commonly used CABG. It is mainly used when one of the major arteries suffer blockage and needs to be bypassed.


Off-Pump CABG:

This method is similar to traditional CABG, with the main difference that the heart is accessed by opening the chest bone. A lung-bypass machine is used in this case and the heart isn’t stopped. This method is also known as beating heart bypass grafting.


Minimally Invasive Direct CABG

This method is similar to off-pump CABG, with the main difference is that instead of making one big incision to open the chest bone, the surgeons make several small incisions on the left side of the chest between the ribs.


Diagnostic Tests and Physical Exam

Before CABG is performed on a candidate, the doctor ensures that the candidate is fit to undergo the procedure. A number of tests are done on the body focussing on the cardiovascular system, like test related to heart, pulse and lungs.


Do you need CABG?


Several tests are performed to understand your lifestyle, symptoms, the structure and function of your heart.


EKG (Electrocardiogram)


An EKG is one of the simple test performed on the patient to detect and record heart’s electrical activity.


Stress Test


There are certain kinds of heart problems that are easily diagnosed when the heart is beating fast and working hard. When a stress test is performed on the patient, they exercise to push their heart to work harder and beat faster, and simultaneously various heart tests are performed. The tests may include portion emission tomography (PET), echo and nuclear heart scanning.




Echocardiography (AKA echo): This test helps the doctors in terms of providing information regarding the shape and size of the patient’s heart. It is done before and after a stress test.


Coronary Angiography


Coronary angiography uses special x-rays and dyes to get an inside view of the patient’s coronary arteries.


Recovery in the Hospital


After the surgery is performed on the patient, he/she is required to stay in an ICU for 1 to 2 days. Their blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels are monitored at closed intervals during this time.


It is common to insert an intravenous line (IV) drip into a vein in the patient’s arm. Using the IV line, medicines to control blood pressure and blood circulation are given to the patients.


In a few cases, patients are given oxygen therapy (oxygen supplied to the patients with the help of a mask or nasal prong) and/or a temporary pacemaker when they stay in the ICU.


Doctors may recommend their patients to wear compression stockings on their legs as well. The stocking help creates a gentle pressure up the leg, which in turn keeps blood from clotting and pooling.


Recovery at Home


The doctor will provide specific guidelines for the patient’s recovering at home. The guidelines are especially concerning:


  • How to recognize signs of complications and infections
  • How to tend to your healing incisions
  • When to call for emergency
  • When to consider making follow-up appointments
  • Doctors also provide instructions on dealing with side effects that occur from surgery.


What are the side-effects?


Side effects often go away within 4 to 6 weeks after surgery, but may include:


  • Swelling in the area where the surgery is performed.
  • Itching or discomfort
  • Tightness or muscle pain in the upper back and shoulders.
  • Mood swings, fatigue (tiredness), or depression
  • Constipation
  • Problems during sleeping
  • Loss of appetite


Complete recovery from traditional CABG surgery takes around 6 to 12 weeks or sometimes more. The healing time is a lot less for non-traditional CABG.


Ongoing Care


Even after complete recovery from the CABG process, care has to be taken in terms of periodic consultations with doctors. Schedule these appointments as recommended by your doctor.


Useful hale and hearty counsel for post-surgery recovery-


  • Quit smoking
  • Eat lots of fruits and green vegetables
  • Avoid fried or junk food
  • Walk for 30-40 minutes every day
  • Do Yoga and meditation
  • Control blood sugar and blood pressure with medication
  • Join a program such as healthy eating or daily exercise
  • Boost your mood by reading your favourite book, listening to favourite music or a sunset walk


Our team at PIH work with you to provide the care you need for a smooth recovery. We provide outstanding outcomes to ensure as safe and as brief of a hospital stay as possible.