Heart Disease Home > Open Heart Surgery

The goal of open heart surgery is to take a blood vessel from somewhere else in your body and use it to bypass a vessel in your heart that has become damaged and blocked. During this surgery, each of your blocked coronary arteries will be carefully inspected, and your surgeon will determine the ideal place to attach the new vessel or vessels. In most cases, the vessel will be sewn into an area below the blockage, and then into a location in the aorta. Open heart surgery is performed in the hospital, and the average hospital stay is four to seven days.

(Technically speaking, an open heart surgery is any procedure where the chest is opened, which certainly includes procedures beyond a heart bypass (a valve replacement, for example). However, because a heart bypass is the most common type of open heart surgery, for the purposes of this article, we will be using the terms "bypass" and "open heart surgery" interchangeably.)
 

What Is Open Heart Surgery?

Open heart surgery is a surgery that takes a blood vessel from somewhere else in the body and uses it to bypass a vessel in the heart that has become damaged and blocked. This improves the blood supply to the heart and thus improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle.
 
In most cases, this improvement in blood supply will help relieve many symptoms that you may be currently experiencing, including chest pain, pressure, or tightness.
 
Other names for open heart surgery include:
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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