What is Awake CABG?
Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is a surgical procedure performed to bypass a blocked artery of the heart. It involves incising a small part of a blood vessel (most commonly a vein from the leg) and using it as a graft (a piece of living tissue that is transplanted surgically). The procedure is indicated for the treatment of narrowing and blockages in the coronary arteries, which can lead to serious complications if left untreated. While traditional CABG is performed under the effects of general anesthesia, awake CABG is performed under epidural (spinal) anesthesia. It is indicated when general anesthesia is contraindicated due to the high risk of associated complications. The thoracic epidural anesthesia eliminates stress on your heart and is reported to have fewer complications.
As the name suggests, you will be awake and conscious during awake CABG, but will not feel pain or discomfort. The thoracic epidural anesthesia is administered through an epidural catheter (thin tube) that is inserted between the thoracic bones (T1 and T2) of the spinal column. The bypass grafting is performed on a beating heart. A stabilizing device is used to reduce the heart movement at only the region of the heart that your surgeon is operating on.