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

Why has my doctor recommended coronary artery bypass surgery?

Your doctor may have recommended coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery for the following reasons:

  • You have significant narrowing or blockages in your coronary arteries.
  • Your coronary artery disease has progressed beyond the point where it can be safely treated by medications.
  • Your arteries have renarrowed after stents or angioplasty therapy.

Back to top

What do I need to know about CABG surgery?

CABG surgery is a major surgical procedure that reroutes blood flow to the portion of the heart beyond the blockage in the coronary artery.

The surgeon creates a graft using portions of another artery or vein taken from somewhere else in your body. One part of the graft is connected to an artery above the blockage, and the other section is connected below the blockage. This will reestablish blood flow to the affected area of the heart.

Back to top

What are the main differences between a conventional CABG surgery procedure, a beating heart CABG surgery procedure, and a MICS CABG surgery procedure?

During conventional CABG surgery, your heart is stopped so that the surgeon can more easily operate on it. You are placed on the heart-lung machine. The heart-lung machine does the work of the heart and lungs, providing blood flow to the entire body during the procedure.

Beating heart CABG surgery allows the heart to continue beating while the surgery is performed. The heart does not need to be stopped. To make it easier to work on a moving/beating heart, the surgeon will use a device called a "tissue stabilizer" which immobilizes the small section of the heart that needs the bypass graft, while the rest of the heart beats. A "heart positioner" is typically used to position the heart for access to the blocked coronary artery. MICS CABG is performed in a similar manner to beating heart CABG, but the surgeon uses only a small incision to access the heart, rather than a full sternotomy.

Heart-Lung Machine
The heart-lung machine collects the blood. Special filters remove the carbon dioxide and other waste products. The oxygenator adds oxygen, the oxygenator's heat exchanger warms (or cools) the blood. The blood is gently circulated back through the body. Medtronic markets a heart-lung machine and many of the other important medical products used during conventional CABG surgery.

What are tissue stablilizers?

Medtronic Octopus® Tissue Stabilizers, along with Starfish®and Urchin® Heart Positioners, have helped to make beating heart surgeries safe and effective.

Tissue stabilizers like the Medtronic Octopus® Tissue Stabilizer are used by thousands of surgeons worldwide to stabilize the heart while they perform the beating heart CABG surgery. The Octopus device uses small suction pods that gently grip the heart to steady it while the surgeon works.


Back to top

How soon after beating heart CABG surgery can I expect to see results?

Results vary from person to person. Many people experience relief from symptoms right away. For others, it may take awhile (a few weeks) to notice a change. Your doctor will help you evaluate the progress of your condition after surgery.

Back to top

How soon after surgery can I resume normal activity?

Typically, recovery takes from 4 to 6 weeks. During this time, you’ll gradually regain your energy and will be able to return to your normal routine. Of course, how quickly you recover depends on several things including your overall health prior to surgery, the kind of surgery you have, and how well your incision is healing. A good cardiac rehabilitation program helps you regain your energy and overall good health.

Back to top

Will I need to take medications after my surgery?

You may have to take medications after your surgery. It depends on your overall health and the particular nature of your coronary artery disease. Your doctor will prescribe the medicines you need.

Back to top

Indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, adverse events

Caution: Federal law (USA) restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician.

For a listing of indications, contraindications, precautions and warnings for each device, please refer to the Directions For Use.

For additional information, you may also contact Medtronic at 1-800-328-2518.

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.