Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart bypass surgery is a serious procedure but is often a successful treatment option for patients with heart disease. Surgeons at MaineHealth are experienced in the most advanced techniques for heart bypass surgery and aim to deliver the highest standard of care for heart disease.

What is heart bypass surgery?

Heart bypass surgery, also known as coronary bypass surgery, creates a new path for blood and oxygen to go around a blockage to reach your heart. Coronary artery bypass surgery can be used to improve blood flow to your heart.

Bypass surgery treats symptoms of coronary heart disease, which develops when plaque builds up inside the arteries in your heart and prevents blood and oxygen from reaching it. Symptoms of coronary heart disease include:

  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath

Advanced treatments for heart bypass surgery

MaineHealth wants to ensure patients with heart disease receive the best care from experienced health professionals. The Maine Medical Center Cardiovascular Institute is dedicated to providing the most advanced treatments and procedures for heart bypass surgery.

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Heart bypass surgery types

Most people who have coronary bypass surgery are connected to a heart-lung bypass machine, or bypass pump. During this procedure, your heart is stopped while you are connected to this machine, which does the work of your heart and lungs while your heart is stopped for the surgery. The machine adds oxygen to your blood, moves blood through your body, and removes carbon dioxide.

Another type of bypass surgery does not use the heart-lung bypass machine. The procedure is done while your heart is still beating. This is called off-pump coronary artery bypass, or OPCAB.

Heart bypass surgery risks

Heart bypass surgery can be very successful, but as with any major surgery, there are associated risks. Some possible complications include:

  • Bleeding
  • Death
  • Infection
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Kidney failure
  • Lung failure
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Low fever, tiredness, and chest pain (together called post-pericardiotomy syndrome)
  • Memory loss/loss of mental clarity

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