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Complications of Beating Heart Bypass Surgery

A patient can experience complications of beating heart bypass surgery even if the surgery went well. A person's overall health often plays a role in whether complications occur. Many complications of beating heart bypass surgery, such as nausea or minor bleeding, are temporary and can be treated easily. Major complications, while rare, include wound infection, blood clots, and lung problems.

Complications of Beating Heart Bypass Surgery: An Introduction

No surgery is completely free of risks. However, people who have beating heart bypass surgery (also known as off-pump bypass surgery) may spend less time in the hospital than those who have it done with a heart-lung bypass machine.

Minor Complications of Beating Heart Bypass Surgery

Minor complications associated with beating heart bypass surgery can include:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Minor infections
  • Minor bleeding or bruising
  • Abnormal or painful scar formation
  • Allergic skin reaction to tape, dressings, or latex
  • Skin numbness.
In most cases, these problems are temporary and your healthcare provider can take care of them easily.

Major Complications of Beating Heart Bypass Surgery

There are some major problems that can happen during or after beating heart bypass surgery, though they don't happen very often. Your overall health may play a role in whether some of these problems do happen and how well your body heals afterwards. For example, factors that can lead to major complications occurring include:
In addition, people who have the following characteristics are more likely to have complications of beating heart bypass surgery:
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Use tobacco products
  • Have had other heart-related surgeries.
Many types of major complications can happen with this surgery -- this article only discusses some of them. The most common or potentially serious complications that can happen either during or after beating heart bypass surgery are:
Some of the other major problems that can happen during or after this surgery are:
  • Wound infection or breakdown
  • Graft failure
  • Serious bleeding
  • Blood vessel injury
  • Nerve injury to the arms or legs
  • Blood clots
  • Lung problems, including:


    • Partial or complete lung collapse
    • Pneumonia
    • Lung failure, which is when the lungs can't supply enough oxygen for the body's needs


  • Kidney failure
  • Damage to the central nervous system and other internal organs -- including the lungs and heart
  • Reaction to medication or anesthesia
  • Loss of life
  • Other rare and unlikely events.
If any of these complications develop, the treatment will depend on where it happens, how serious it is, and other factors, including your overall health. You may need to stay in the hospital longer than planned. For some complications, you might even need to have a blood transfusion or another surgery. Other complications of beating heart surgery may cause a permanent disability or loss of life.
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Off-Pump Bypass Surgery Complications

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