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Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery 

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Coronary artery bypass surgery, also called coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), is a procedure that reroutes blood around blocked arteries, to ensure proper blood flow to the heart. Bypass surgery is a treatment option for coronary artery disease.

The bypass surgery procedure involves taking a section of a vein (generally from the leg area or the chest wall artery) and inserting it in your coronary artery to create an alternate route (bypass) for oxygen-rich blood to flow around a blocked or narrowed artery.

The bypass surgery procedure is performed in the operating room by a cardiac surgeon who specializes in open heart surgery. Once the procedure is completed, the cardiac surgeon may use a new technology called SPY®—an intra-operative imaging system that allows the cardiac surgeon to check the blood flow of newly grafted arteries before the patient leaves the operating room as an additional assurance of a successful procedure.

SPY® Intraoperative Imaging System is used before and after coronary bypass surgery and is performed to provide immediate confirmation of a successful surgery. The system uses a fluorescent dye that attaches to proteins in the blood and emits light when stimulated by a very low-energy laser. The injected dye lights up blood flowing through the veins and arteries allowing cardiac surgeons to capture, review, print and archive high-quality image sequences or video of coronary arteries, in real-time during the CABG procedure.

This progressive technology enables cardiac surgeons to visually assess coronary circulation and confirm the quality of grafts performed during bypass surgery. Surgeons use SPY pre-bypass to confirm their operative plan and intra-operatively to determine the need for any technical revisions to the bypass grafts.

Learn more about coronary artery bypass surgery from the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute.

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