Questions and Answers – Beating Heart Bypass Surgery Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

My doctor says I am a good candidate for beating heart surgery, but I am not a good candidate for conventional bypass surgery. What is the difference?

The main difference between beating heart surgery and conventional CABG surgery is the heart-lung machine. During conventional CABG surgery, your heart is stopped. The heart-lung machine handles circulation for your body. For some patients, this can increase their risk of stroke, or other complications.

Beating heart CABG surgery typically requires a heart positioner and a tissue stabilizer. These devices allow the surgeon to position the heart for access to the blocked coronary artery, and to hold a portion of the heart still so the graft can be sewn in place. With beating heart surgery, your heart should function normally during surgery. Beating heart CABG surgery typically does not require use of the heart-lung machine.

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Is a heart-lung bypass machine used during beating heart surgery?

Beating heart bypass surgery is usually performed without the use of a heart-lung bypass machine. However, the machine is typically set up nearby. This is a precaution in case the surgeon needs to convert to an on-pump procedure to complete the surgery.

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Can my arteries get blocked again? How will I know?

Yes. If this happens, you may experience symptoms similar to those you experienced when you first noticed you had coronary artery disease or before your bypass procedure. These symptoms may include chest pain or shortness of breath, especially during physical activity. If you experience pain, inform your doctor immediately.

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Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.