Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) also known as bypass surgery is a procedure where a healthy blood vessel is connected to a blocked artery which allows blood to flow to the heart. In this procedure blockages are not removed and an artificial path is made for blood to flow to the heart. There are several disadvantages to this surgery. This surgery procedure is very complex and has many possible downfalls. The sternum, which is the middle, front bone of the rib cage, must be cut down the middle to do this surgery. The pericardium, which is the membrane that the heart is enclosed inside must also be cut. Furthermore, to do this procedure, the heart has to be rotated, and blood vessels from various parts of the body such as the arm, leg or other areas in the chest, are cut and artificially connected to the heart. Moreover, drainage tubes have to be placed in the chest cavity. In order to close the parts of the body that have been cut open, metal wires are used for closing the breastbone and stitches are needed to close the remaining body tissue.
Serious risk factors of bypass surgery are wound infection, stroke, heart attack, heart failure and even death. Other risk factors are possibly reacting to anesthesia, fever, chest pain, decrease in appetite, inflammation of the lungs and heart sac. Some people may get buildup of fluid around the heart and need treatment for that. The risks of bypass surgery are also higher for people with preexisting conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, lung disease or peripheral-artery-disease.
While bypass surgery can improve blood flow to the heart, with this method comes numerous issues such as pain, various risk factors and a lot of artificial tampering with the body. Bypass surgery is by no means a complete cure for coronary heart disease. Patients will have to keep getting checkups by doctors and may also have to take medicine for the rest of their lives. Bypass surgery itself is economically very costly and its aftercare can be costly too.