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    Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (also called coronary artery bypass surgery, CABG, and bypass operation) is performed to restore blood flow to the heart. This relieves chest pain and ischemia, improves the patient's quality of life, and in some cases, prolongs the patient's life. The goals of the procedure are to enable the patient to resume a normal lifestyle and to lower the risk of a heart attack.

    The decision to perform coronary artery bypass graft surgery is a complex one, and there is some disagreement among experts as to when it is indicated. Many experts feel that it has been performed too frequently in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, appropriate candidates for coronary artery bypass graft surgery include patients with blockages in at least three major coronary arteries, especially if the blockages are in arteries that feed the heart's left ventricle; patients with angina so severe that even mild exertion causes chest pain; and patients who cannot tolerate percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty and do not respond well to drug therapy. Coronary artery bypass graft surgery often is the treatment of choice for patients with severe coronary artery disease (three or more diseased arteries with impaired function in the left ventricle).

    Source: The Gale Group. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.";

  • well if you didnt want a copy and paste answer. this procedure helps the heart circulate blood by bypassing the coronary artery that is damaged. if the artery is damaged or ruptured a graft (a piece of living tissue that is transplanted surgically) is used to help secure the artery or the area that is damaged and also gives your blood a new route to flow into the heart, being as the coronary artery is damaged... this graft helps the surgical area heal fast because the graft is made of your living tissue cell, and can be molded to secure weaknesses. So in simple terms the purpose of this surgery is to reestablish proper blood flow through the heart. The coronary artery is most often times bypassed and a new route for the blood is made with the living tissue graft. So reestablish blood flow, clean and remove coronary artery issues like clots (most common condition that leads to a coronary artery bypass graft.)
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