This is commonly known as Heart Bypass surgery.
CABG surgery is an option for treating Coronary Artery Disease which is characterised by critical blocks in the blood vessels (coronary arteries) of the heart. Angioplasty with stenting is another treatment option for this Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).
Traditionally, CABG is an open-heart surgery. Surgeon cuts open the central chest bone and then operates on still heart. Heart is temporarily stopped using medications. Heart-lung bypass machine is used to keep moving the oxygen-rich blood throughout the body of the patient during the surgery (On-pump CABG). Blood flow is restored to the heart after surgery and the heart starts beating again. Occasionally electric shocks are delivered for restarting the heart.
CABG can be performed on beating heart without using heart-lung machine and this is called Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (OPCAB).
At times, blood vessels in front of the heart can be bypassed through small incision on the left side of the chest instead of cutting open the central chest bone. This is called Minimally Invasive Direct Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (MIDCAB).
Graft is usually a blood vessel (artery or vein) retrieved from chest-wall, arm or leg of the patient.
Graft is then connected from aorta (major blood vessel arising from heart) to the segment beyond the diseased coronary artery. This graft creates a new bypass route for blood to reach the heart muscle beyond the blockage. Vein grafts tend to get blocked after a few years while artery grafts comparatively tend to remain patent over a longer period of time.
After CABG surgery, generally 1 week stay (2 days in ICU followed by 5 days in ward) may be needed in hospital. It may take 1-3 months or even more for complete recovery from traditional CABG surgery.