What Does a Triple Bypass Surgery Involve?

A triple bypass heart surgery involves grafting blood vessels from other locations in the body to bypass blocked or narrowed sections of the coronary artery, according to WebMD. This procedure is usually an open-heart surgery where the circulatory functions are managed by a heart-lung bypass machine, explains WebMD. The procedure is preceded by a blood test, a chest x-ray, an electrocardiogram and an angiogram to test the functioning of the blood, heart and arteries, according to Healthline.

A triple bypass heart surgery begins with general anesthesia followed by an incision of approximately 9 inches in the middle of the chest, explains MedlinePlus. The heart is stopped, and the circulatory cycle is shifted to the heart-lung machine. An off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery does not require the stopping of the heart during the bypass procedure. During a triple bypass surgery, the surgeon removes a healthy artery or vein from the arm, stomach, leg or chest and uses it to bypass obstructed areas of three coronary arteries, according to WebMD. Once the grafts are complete, the surgeon tests the effectiveness of the bypass by restarting the heart and stopping the heart-lung machine, states Healthline. The opening in the chest is closed, and the breastbone is rejoined with wires followed by sutures to close the surgical cut, explains MedlinePlus. A triple bypass surgery is usually followed by a two-day observation period in the ICU and a recovery period of one or two months, states WebMD.