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What Are the Risks of Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting?

As with any type of surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) has risks. The risks of CABG include:

  • Wound infection and bleeding
  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Stroke, heart attack, or even death

Some patients have a fever associated with chest pain, irritability, and decreased appetite. This is due to inflammation involving the lung and heart sac.

This complication sometimes occurs after surgeries that involve cutting through the pericardium (the outer covering of the heart). The problem usually is mild, but some patients may develop fluid buildup around the heart that requires treatment.

Memory loss and other issues, such as problems concentrating or thinking clearly, might occur in some people.

These problems are more likely to affect older patients and women. These issues often improve within 6–12 months of surgery.

In general, the risk of complications is higher if CABG is done in an emergency situation (for example, during a heart attack). The risk also is higher if you have other diseases or conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, lung disease, or peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.).

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February 23, 2012