Surgical and Other Invasive Procedures for Heart Attack
En Español (Spanish Version)

Surgery can be done to restore and/or improve blood flow to the heart muscle, which helps the heart perform better.

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
CABG is open-heart bypass surgery done to re-establish blood flow to the heart muscle. It is often recommended when there is a severe blockage in the main artery or obstructions in several arteries. During this operation, a blood vessel is taken (eg, from the leg or another area of the body) and grafted into a diseased artery, bypassing the blocked area. If more than one area is blocked, a bypass can be done for each area. The blood can then go around the obstruction to supply the heart with enough oxygen-rich blood.

Angioplasty is a procedure to open a blocked artery. The doctor will insert a catheter with a balloon mechanism through an artery in the groin. Once it reaches the blockage, the doctor will inflate the balloon to push the plaque toward the vessel walls, creating space in the artery and restoring blood flow. A mesh device called a stent may be inserted to hold the artery open.

Other Interventions
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICDs —This device is implanted in the chest. The ICD responds to the presence of an abnormal heart rhythm by delivering an electrical shock to jumpstart the heart and return it to a normal rhythm.
  • Coronary artery radiation—Radiation is sometimes used to open coronary arteries that have narrowed after stent placement.
  • Laser revascularization—This is a technique that uses laser to create small channels into a wall of heart muscle to allow new blood vessels to grow and ultimately improve blood flow.

Cardiac procedures and surgeries. American Heart Association website. Available at: . Accessed August 8, 2012.

ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated June 7, 2012. Accessed August 8, 2012.

Last Reviewed September 2013

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