Heart bypass surgery, also called coronary artery bypass surgery, is a procedure that restores blood flow to your heart muscle by diverting the flow of blood around a section of a blocked artery in your heart.

Heart bypass surgery uses a healthy blood vessel taken from your leg, arm, chest or abdomen, and connects it to the other arteries in your heart so that blood is bypassed around the diseased or blocked area – thus improving blood flow to your heart.

Heart bypass surgery relieves symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath due to poor blood flow to the heart, and may improve your heart function and reduce your risk of dying of heart disease.

However, heart bypass surgery doesn’t cure the underlying heart disease, called coronary artery disease, which caused the blockages in the first place.  Lifestyle changes are still a necessary part of treatment after surgery, involving diet, exercise, stress, etc.  Medications also are routine after heart bypass surgery to lower your blood cholesterol, reduce the risk of developing a blood clot, and help your heart function as well as possible.

Candidates for heart surgery in the USA and Canada often face the dilemma that cardiac surgeries are extremely expensive, or they have to suffer long waits to receive medical treatment.  Many people considering heart bypass surgery look to Costa Rica to have the procedure done.  Affordable heart bypass surgery in Costa Rica is available without sacrificing quality.  Costa Rica’s excellent private hospitals and cardiovascular clinics cater to all forms of heart and vascular treatment, providing a high level of service and quality that you’d expect in North America or Europe.  Costa Rican doctors, of whom many are fluent in English and other languages besides Spanish, are highly trained and professional.

Heart bypass surgery in Costa Rica is safe and affordable, performed by highly-skilled surgeons.  There are excellent private hospitals and facilities in which to stay during your recovery.

Who is a candidate for Heart Bypass Surgery?

You should consider heart bypass surgery if:

  • You have severe chest pain caused by narrowing of several of the coronary arteries that supply your heart muscle with blood.
  • You have more than one diseased coronary artery, and the heart’s main pumping chamber — the left ventricle — isn’t functioning well.
  • Your left main coronary artery, which supplies most of the blood to the left ventricle, is severely narrowed or blocked.
  • You have an artery blockage for which angioplasty isn’t appropriate, or you’ve had a previous angioplasty or stent placement that hasn’t been successful.
  • Coronary bypass surgery may also be performed in emergency situations, such as a heart attack, if your doctor sees that you’re not responding to other treatments.

How is Heart Bypass Surgery done?

Heart bypass surgery is performed in the hospital using general anesthesia.  Once you are unconscious, your heart surgeon will make an 8 to 10-inch surgical cut in the middle of your chest. Your breastbone will be separated to create an opening for your surgeon to work with your heart.

Most people who have heart bypass surgery are connected to a heart-lung bypass machine, or bypass pump.  Your heart is stopped while you are connected and the machine does the work of adding oxygen to your blood, moving blood through your body, and removing carbon dioxide during the surgery.

To create the bypass, your surgeon will take a vein or artery from another part of your body and use it to make a detour around the blocked area in your artery.  After the bypass is finished, your breastbone will be closed with wires; these wires stay inside you.  The surgical cut will be closed with stitches.

Heart bypass surgery can take 4 – 6 hours.  After the surgery, you will be taken to the intensive care unit.

What is recovery like after Heart Bypass Surgery in Costa Rica?

After your surgery, you will spend 3 – 7 days in the hospital.   You will spend the first night(s) in an intensive care unit (ICU), and then be moved to a regular care room when your doctor is satisfied with your progress.

Two to three tubes will be in your chest to drain fluid from around your heart.  They are usually removed within 1 – 3 days after surgery.  You may have a catheter (flexible tube) in your bladder to drain urine.
You may also have intravenous (IV) lines for fluids.  You will be attached to machines that will monitor your pulse, temperature and breathing.  Nurses will constantly watch your monitors.

Once you are feeling better after surgery, you will begin a cardiac rehab program.  Your doctor will tell you how to take care of yourself at home after the surgery.  Recovery from heart surgery takes time.  You may not see the full benefits of your surgery for 3 – 6 months.

Benefits of Heart Bypass Surgery

  • Improves symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath
  • Improves blood flow to your heart
  • Improves your heart function
  • Reduces your risk of dying of heart disease

Heart Bypass Surgery in Costa Rica

If you are interested in heart bypass surgery in Costa Rica, please fill out the “Help Me Find a Doctor” form.  A participating medical specialist will contact you about your medical needs.