Beating Heart Surgery
Prospective heart bypass patients now have the option of choosing off-pump bypass surgery, also called beating heart bypass surgery, instead of traditional coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.
Both surgeries bypass blocked coronary artery areas by grafting new arteries to bypass the blockages. They differ in how the patient's heart is handled during surgery.
Traditional bypass surgery requires the heart to be stopped while being operated on, with the assistance of a heart-lung machine to pump oxygenated blood through the patient's blood. The heart is restarted after surgery.
Off-pump bypass surgery forgoes the heart-lung machine, allowing the patient's heart to continue beating during surgery. Advanced equipment immobilizes just the section of the heart being operated on. The rest of the heart continues to pump blood throughout the body.
Off-pump bypass surgery isn't necessary in every case but has clear benefits for high-risk patients, such as those with weak kidneys or lungs, stroke sufferers, and for those with heavy plaque build-up in aorta walls.