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Human Atlas

Heart Bypass Surgery

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 This 3D animation from The Human Atlas explains Heart Bypass Surgery.

The heart is a beating muscle that pumps oxygenated blood and nutrients to the body's cells. The heart also needs these life-sustaining nutrients to function and it receives blood via the coronary arteries. Coronary means “crown” – the arteries crown or surround the heart muscle.

Coronary arteries nourish the heart, but if they become narrowed or blocked due to the fatty build-up called plaque, the flow of blood and nutrients to parts of the heart can decrease or stop.  When this happens, it causes the cells in that region of the heart to die, and leaves the heart without the proper amounts of blood and nutrients it needs to function.

Exercise and proper diet are essential in the prevention of heart disease. However, surgery is sometimes necessary to repair the damage caused by heart disease.

Heart bypass surgery, also called Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting, or CABG, is a grafting procedure where an artery or vein is taken from the leg, is attached to aorta, and is used to create a new pathway to the heart, bypassing the blockage that exists in the diseased section of the artery.

There are several potential complications associated with this procedure that should be discussed with a doctor prior to surgery.

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