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CORONARY ARTERY BYPASS GRAFTING (CABG)
Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a surgical procedure that restores the flow of blood beyond a blocked segment of a coronary artery. Doing so relieves symptoms due to ischemia and possibly improves cardiac function. CABG is now the most common operation performed in this country, with over 500,000 procedures performed in 2002.
Coronary artery bypass surgery is a treatment option for ischemic heart disease (too little blood reaching the heart muscle). Coronary surgery is recommended when there is disease of the left main coronary artery, disease of three or more vessels (triple vessel disease), or nonsurgical management hasn't worked. Nonsurgical management includes medication and/or angioplasty. 
HOW THE PROCEDURE IS PERFORMED
Once the patient is anesthetized and the chest thoroughly shaved and cleaned, the surgeon makes an incision in the middle of the chest and then separates the sternum or breastbone.
Through this incision, the heart and aorta (which is the main arterial blood vessel from the heart to the rest of the body) can now be reached.
Abraham Salacata, MD, FACC