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Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG): Myths and Facts

By Dr. Aditya Kumar Singh in Cardiac Sciences , Cardiac Surgery (CTVS)

Nov 29 , 2023 | 3 min read

Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. Among the various treatments available, Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) is a life-saving procedure that has helped millions regain their heart health.

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting, commonly referred to as CABG, is a surgical procedure designed to improve blood flow to the heart muscle. It is typically performed on individuals with severe coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD occurs when the coronary arteries, responsible for supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart, become narrowed or blocked due to fatty deposits and plaque buildup. When the blood flow to the heart muscle is significantly restricted, patients can experience chest pain (angina) or even face the risk of a heart attack.

CABG involves creating new pathways for blood to bypass these blocked arteries. A piece of healthy blood vessel, either an artery or a vein, is harvested from another part of the body and grafted onto the heart to reroute blood flow. By doing so, CABG restores adequate blood supply to the heart, alleviates symptoms, and reduces the risk of future heart events.

10 Myths and Facts About CABG

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) is a critical procedure that can appear daunting to those facing it. Amid these myths and misconceptions, let's explore some common myths and corresponding facts about CABG:

Myth:CABG is only for older adults.

Fact: CABG can be performed on patients of various age groups, depending on their medical condition and needs. Nowadays, CABG is required not just in the elderly but also in young adults with aggressive heart disease and adults in their 30s.

Myth: CABG is the only option for severe CAD.

Fact: Stents can be an effective alternative for some patients, particularly those with less severe CAD.

Myth: CABG is risky and often leads to complications.

Fact: CABG is a well-established procedure with low risks when performed by experienced heart bypass surgeons.

Myth: CABG guarantees a lifetime free from heart issues.

Fact: CABG can significantly improve heart health, but lifestyle changes are crucial for long-term benefits.

Myth: Recovery from CABG takes months, if not longer.

Fact: While recovery can be challenging, most patients can return to regular activities within a few weeks. With newer techniques and minimally invasive options, patients can return to their normal lifestyle within 2-3 weeks.

Myth: CABG is a quick fix and eliminates the need for lifestyle changes.

Fact: Lifestyle changes are fundamental in managing CAD, whether or not you've had CABG. These changes include managing stress, exercising regularly, adopting a heart-healthy diet, and quitting smoking. Lifestyle adjustments can help prevent further disease progression and improve overall heart health.

Read more- A Health Burden: Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Myth: CABG leads to a limited quality of life.

Fact: With proper care, most patients can lead an active and fulfilling life post-CABG.

Myth: CABG is a last resort; there are no other options.

Fact: CABG is one of several treatment options, and the choice depends on individual patient factors and the severity of CAD.

Myth: CABG is only for men.

Fact: CABG is suitable for both men and women, as heart disease affects people of all genders.

Myth: You must have a family history of heart disease to need CABG.

Fact: While family history can increase risk, many individuals who require CABG have no such history. Lifestyle factors and individual health play a significant role.

Read more- What is Heart Bypass Surgery?

CABG is a versatile procedure that can benefit a range of individuals, regardless of age, gender, or medical history. It is not an isolated solution but a significant part of a broader strategy that includes lifestyle modifications and other treatment options. With the proper knowledge and an understanding of the facts and options available, individuals can make informed decisions about their heart health, embarking on a journey to a brighter, healthier future.