In beating-heart bypass surgery, the heart continues to beat naturally, eliminating the need for a heart/lung machine or pump. Prongs are placed on a specific area of the heart, stabilizing that area while allowing the heart to continue beating.
This process avoids many of the complications that can arise from the use of the heart/lung machine, such as stroke, increased need for blood transfusions, kidney and lung complications, and lengthy hospital stays. Also, stopping the heart is too traumatic and dangerous for some patients to endure. The beating-heart procedure enables a larger, more diverse population to undergo bypass surgery.
Recovery from this procedure is also faster and most patients return to normal activities sooner.
At MedStar Health, anyone requiring heart bypass surgery is a candidate for beating-heart surgery. You and your doctor will discuss whether beating-heart surgery is appropriate for you. The decision depends on your overall health, the severity of your coronary artery disease, the number of arteries requiring bypass and other factors.