Heart Bypass Surgery

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)

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Duke heart surgeons specialize in heart bypass surgery (also known as coronary artery bypass grafting or CABG). This operation can prolong life and reduce or eliminate the symptoms of coronary artery disease. Our goal is to improve your heart health and get you back to a normal life as soon as possible.

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About Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart bypass surgery improves blood flow to the heart muscle and helps the heart pump more efficiently. During the operation, surgeons reroute blood flow around a blocked artery in your heart by using vessels taken from your chest, arm, or leg.

Our team of specialized cardiac surgeons, anesthesiologists, intensivists, and nurses are equipped to care for all types of people with coronary artery disease, including those with complex heart disease or other significant medical problems. 

Our Locations

We care for people needing heart bypass surgery at several locations in Durham, NC.

Surgical Options

There are several ways in which bypass surgery can be performed based on your heart disease severity, anatomy, overall medical condition, and preference. 

On-Pump CABG
The conventional approach to heart bypass surgery involves a chest incision, dividing the breastbone (called a sternotomy), and use of a heart-lung bypass machine to oxygenate your blood and maintain blood flow to your body during the operation. 

Off-Pump CABG
When appropriate, heart bypass surgery may be performed without use of a heart-lung bypass machine, either by dividing the breastbone (a conventional sternotomy) or by using a smaller incision between the ribs (this is sometimes called minimally invasive CABG or minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass or MIDCAB).

Robot-Assisted Minimally Invasive CABG
Some people may be candidates for heart bypass surgery using robot technology. Through three small incisions between the ribs, a surgeon operates robot arms to remove an artery from the chest to be used for the bypass. With this technique, surgeons can use a smaller incision for the bypass surgery itself, and it doesn’t require use of the heart-lung bypass machine. This results in less blood loss and a faster recovery.  

Hybrid Surgery
Duke heart surgeons and cardiologists collaborate to improve blood flow to the heart with a combination of heart surgery and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), or “stenting.” Typically, robot-assisted minimally invasive CABG is performed first, and other blockages are stented at a later date.

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Why Choose Duke

Nationally Recognized
Our adult cardiac surgery program is among the nation’s top-performing programs. In 2023, Duke University Hospital received Healthgrade's Cardiac Surgery Excellence Award™, recognizing "superior clinical outcomes for heart bypass surgery." We have excellent survival rates and low complication rates and strictly adhere to treatment guidelines. As longstanding participants in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ Adult Cardiac Surgery Database, we voluntarily report our outcomes and push ourselves to continually improve.

Support for Your Recovery
Our heart disease prevention and cardiac rehabilitation programs provide nutrition counseling, exercise instruction, stress management sessions, tobacco cessation programs, and more. Our goal is to help you recover from surgery and establish lasting lifestyle changes to help you manage your heart disease and maintain good health. 

Best Heart Hospital in North Carolina

When it comes to your heart care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cardiology and heart surgery program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

This page was medically reviewed on 02/24/2023 by