What is "Off-Pump" Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery?

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:

  • Faster recovery

  • Shorter hospital stay

  • Minimal bleeding

  • 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.


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