Heart Surgery With or Without the Heart-Lung Machine (Video)

Dr. Sabik in surgery

Heart surgeons can use one of two techniques to perform a coronary artery bypass. They can perform it using the heart-lung machine, which means the heart is stopped during the procedure and the machine takes over, or they can perform the bypass while the heart continues to beat. It is a little more technically challenging to do it off-pump when the heart is beating, but it can be done just as effectively. I will explain the different reasons for each procedure. The key is to find a surgeon that is comfortable with both options.

More Information

Understanding coronary artery disease (CAD)

Understanding coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery

Learn more about the heart-lung machine and the role of the perfusionist during surgery

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Joseph F. Sabik III, MD

Joseph F. Sabik III, MD, is Chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Cleveland Clinic and directs the Clinic’s Cardiothoracic Training Program.