Off-Pump heart surgery or "Beating Heart" surgery is a surgical procedure performed to treat narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. Traditionally, heart bypass surgery was performed with the help of a heart lung machine to stabilize the heart and maintain the blood supply to the body during the surgery. Off-Pump surgery, a minimally invasive approach, is now performed without the use of a heart lung machine, with the heart actively beating.
The goal of off-pump heart surgery is to relieve the symptoms of coronary artery disease and improve the blood flow to the heart. During the procedure, a 2 to 3-inch incision is made over the chest wall, between the ribs. A healthy vein or artery is taken from the patient's chest, leg or arm and used as a graft around the blocked artery. This allows the blood to "bypass" the blockage and flow freely to the heart muscle. A special device is used to stabilize the heart while the heart is still beating and pumping blood to the body.
The potential benefits of minimally invasive off-pump heart surgery may include the following:
Shorter hospital stay
Reduced risk of stroke and kidney failure
Lower risk of infection
Reduced need for blood transfusions
Lower risk of an irregular heartbeat
It can also be performed on high risk patients with other co-morbid diseases such as lung disease, kidney failure and peripheral vascular disease.