Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)

Why is it done?

If one of your coronary arteries supplying blood to your heart muscle is blocked by a buildup of cholesterol (plaque), blood cannot flow properly and this can lead to angina or a heart attack. If this occurs, it could lead to progression of your heart failure. A coronary artery bypass graft redirects your blood supply around this blocked section of artery so that your heart can function normally.

What does it involve?

During the operation, you will usually be connected to a heart-lung machine that supplies blood to the brain and body while surgeons remove healthy blood vessels from another part of your body, such as your leg or the chest wall, and surgically attach these grafts to the blocked vessel(s) so that the blood is diverted around the blocked section.

The procedure usually takes around 3 hours, but may take longer depending on how many grafts need to be done.

Questions to ask your doctor:

  • What are the risks associated with this surgery?
  • Will I need to have an angiogram before surgery?
  • Is there a special diet I should follow after my coronary artery bypass operation?
  • How long will I take to recover?
  • What kind of scar will I be left with?
  • What level of physical activity am I allowed to do after surgery?
  • What medicines will I have to take following the surgery?

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ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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