Does a Heart-Lung Machine Cause Brain Fog After Bypass Surgery?

The Short Answer from a cardiac surgeon

Q: Does a heart-lung machine cause brain fog after bypass surgery?

A: Yes, there are sporadic reports of patients having difficulty thinking clearly after coronary artery bypass surgery.This doesn’t happen to everyone, and usually disappears completely after a few months.The phenomena is not fully understood, but is believed to be linked to the heart-lung machines that are typically used during the procedure.

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The heart-lung machine allows the heart’s beating to be stopped, so that the surgeon can operate on a surface that is blood- and motion-free.

Coronary artery bypass without the heart lung bypass machine is used in select patients with a particular kind of coronary anatomy. However, no conclusive studies demonstrate that it is superior to traditional surgery with the heart-lung machine.


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Cardiac surgeon Faisal Bakaeen, MD

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