CABG Surgery

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG surgery) is a major surgical treatment for coronary artery disease (CAD), also called coronary heart disease. The surgery is performed when there is a blockage in the coronary artery that cannot be successfully treated with medicine or a less invasive procedure, such as an angioplasty.

What is CABG Surgery?

In CABG, a healthy artery or vein is connected, or grafted, to the blocked coronary artery. The grafted artery or vein bypasses the blocked portion of the coronary artery creating a new passage for oxygen-rich blood to go around the blockage and into the heart.

CABG surgery has been traditionally performed with the patient supported on a heart-lung machine to do the work of the heart and lungs. This allows the bypass grafts to be performed on a still heart.

CABG Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Since the early 1970s, cardiac surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have performed more than 10,000 CABG surgeries and now offer the full range of conventional and advanced surgical therapies for CAD. Today, roughly 600 CABG surgeries are performed at BWH annually, exceeding the national average of 450.

With the increasing use and success of non-surgical procedures for the initial treatment of CAD, called interventional cardiovascular therapies, patients needing CABG surgery are generally older with more complicated medical issues. Cardiac surgeons at BWH have developed special expertise in not only treating more routine cases but also treating these complex patients who may be considered untreatable at other centers. These patients often require hybrid therapies, which involve high-end diagnostic imaging and multiple surgical or non-surgical interventions at one time in one operating room.

Minimally Invasive CABG Surgery

BWH is pioneering in the development of minimally invasive procedures for cardiac conditions – including CABG surgery. The benefit of this technique is smaller and fewer scars, faster recovery and avoidance of the heart-lung machine.

Cardiovascular Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at BWH is one of the most advanced centers of its kind in the New England region. Bringing together the full range of cardiovascular services in one building, the Center provides the technology and infrastructure to enable seamless and coordinated care for all cardiovascular patients. Features of the Center include:

  • Watkins Cardiovascular Clinic, our outpatient care facility
  • Latest Diagnostic Testing
  • Hybrid operating room, specially designed to allow our surgeons and physicians to perform advanced hybrid therapies – combinations of catheter-based, conventional, and less invasive surgical procedures – and streamline care for patients who need multiple procedures as part of their treatment.

Patient- and Family-focused Care

BWH has long been committed to not only the care of our patients but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-focused care - involving systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment - was a force behind the design of the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center and can be evidenced throughout the Center and in the way care is provided. 

Quality of Patient Care

BWH is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our Inpatient Satisfaction Survey, sent to patients’ to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and areas for improvement. We pride ourselves in the Quality of Patient Care we provide and how we are measured compared with other hospitals.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Cardiac Surgery Team

Since 1923, with the first successful mitral valve operation in the world, BWH has provided the most innovative and comprehensive care for patients with complex disorders of the heart, blood vessels, and circulation. U.S. News & World Report ranks BWH a top hospital in the country for Cardiology and Heart Surgery specialty.

Our cardiac surgery team of physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants, and staff work closely with colleagues in cardiology, vascular surgery, imaging, and nursing to deliver safe, effective, and compassionate care to every patient.

Contact Us

If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our cardiovascular experts, call 1-800-294-9999 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs.