A Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG) is a surgery which is performed to bypass blockages and improve blood flow to the heart muscle. A CABG uses a blood vessel (graft) which is taken from the arm, leg or chest to bypass a narrowed or blocked coronary artery.

Standard Coronary Artery Bypas Graft Surgery

Standard or Conventional Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (CABG) is done using the heart-lung machine (cardiopulmonary bypass) whereby the machine allows the heart to be stopped. During that period of cardiac inactivity, the machine takes over the function of the heart and lungs. After the heart is temporarily stopped, new blood vessels (grafts) are sewn in place, bypassing the point of narrowing. Upon completion of the grafting, the heart is restarted and the patient is gradually weaned o­ff the heart-lung machine.


Are There Side Effects?

Although it is a safe procedure, there are some side effects such as personality changes, mental deterioration as well as damages to the kidneys and lungs due to being hooked up on the heart-lung machine.

These complications, which can affect the lives of patients and their families have led surgeons to look for different options. One of the best options is the a technique called the Off-Pump Coronary Bypass Graft Surgery (OPCAB)

Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (OPCAB) Surgery

OPCAB is also famously known as Beating Heart Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery

This is a technique whereby the CABG is done in the usual manner, but without connecting the patient to the heart-lung machine and not stopping the heart (thus called o­ff-pump). Parts of the heart where the necessary sewing takes place are stabilized using a specially designed apparatus called stabilizer.

This manoeuvre allows the sewing of blood vessels to be done safely and accurately without having to stop the heart. Indeed, it is as if the patient is undergoing any other major operation where the circulation continues in the physiological manner and not artificially as with the use of the heart-lung machine.


The Advantages Of OPCAB Include:

Earlier recovery

shorter stay in the hospital and may be able to return to normal activities.

Less complications

lower risk of complications associated with the heart-lung machine such as stroke, lung and kidney problems.

Less bleeding

requires fewer blood transfusions.

Less brain complications

less problems with mental clarity and memory.


Dr David Khoo Sin Keat

Dr David Khoo Sin Keat

Consultant Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgeon

MD (UKM), FRCS (Edinburgh), Fellowship in Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery (Mayo Clinic, USA)


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