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Leading the way as one of the top Michigan cardiology and Michigan heart care hospitals with a full array of cardiac treatments and programs that set new standards for heart care every day, that's the St. Joseph Mercy Oakland way. From heart valve replacement to coronary artery bypass, our doctors are at the forefront of heart procedures and treatments.

James Caralis, DO
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
Cardiothoracic Surgeon
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THE FACTS ABOUT Coronary Artery Bypass (CABG)


Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is a cardiac procedure in which one or more blocked coronary arteries are bypassed by a blood vessel graft to create new pathways for oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart. These grafts usually come from the patient’s own arteries and veins located in the chest, leg, or arm.

Podcast Posted: 08/10/2007

“Coronary artery bypass graft surgery relieves symptoms of coronary artery disease, enables patients to resume a normal lifestyle, and lowers the risk of heart attack or other associated problems,” says James P. Caralis, DO and SJMO cardiothoracic surgeon. “More than 800,000 CABG procedures are performed worldwide annually.”

To bypass the blockage, surgeons make a small opening just below the blockage in the diseased coronary artery. If a saphenous (leg) or radial (arm) vein is used, one end is connected to the coronary artery and the other to the aorta. If a mammary artery is used, one end is connected to the coronary artery while the other remains left attached to the subclavian artery.


The graft is then sewn into the opening – redirecting blood flow around this blockage. CABG is repeated until all blocked coronary arteries are treated. It is not uncommon for three or four coronary arteries to be bypassed.

During “on-pump” surgery, the heart-lung bypass machine is used to take over for the heart and lungs – allowing the circulation of blood throughout the rest of the body. The heart’s beating is stopped so the surgeon can perform the bypass procedure on a “still” heart.

“Off-pump,” or beating heart bypass surgery, allows surgeons to perform surgery on the heart while it is still beating and without the use of a heart-lung machine. The surgeon uses advanced operating equipment to stabilize portions of the heart and bypass the blocked arteries. Meanwhile, the rest of the heart keeps pumping and circulating blood to the body.

CABG surgery does not prevent coronary artery disease from recurring. Lifestyle changes and prescribed medications are strongly recommended to reduce risk, including: regular exercise, cessation of smoking, lowering high cholesterol, managing high blood pressure and diabetes, and eating a heart-healthy diet.

Please call the SJMO physician referral line at 800.372.6094 to find an SJMO cardiac specialist near you.





Coronary Artery Bypass (CABG)
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Posted: 08/10/2007
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