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As with all types of surgery, a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) carries risks of complications.
Some of the main complications associated with a coronary artery bypass graft are described below.
Up to one in every three people who have a coronary artery bypass graft will develop a problem called atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.
However, this isn't usually serious and can normally be easily treated with a course of medication.
There's a chance that the wounds in your chest and arm or leg (depending on where the grafted blood vessels were removed) could become infected after a coronary artery bypass graft.
This is estimated to occur in up to one in every 25 people who have the procedure.
There's also a smaller chance of more serious infections affecting your lungs or the inside of the chest after having a coronary artery bypass graft.
Most infections that do develop after the procedure can usually be treated successfully with antibiotic tablets or injections.
Less than one in every 20 people who have a coronary artery bypass graft will experience reduced kidney function after surgery. In most cases, this is only temporary and the kidneys begin working normally after a few days or weeks.
In rare cases, you may need to have temporary dialysis until your kidneys recover. This involves being attached to a machine that replicates the functions of the kidneys.
Up to one in every 20 people experience some problems with their memory after a coronary artery bypass graft and also find it difficult to concentrate on things like reading a book or newspaper. This will usually improve in the months following the operation, but it can sometimes be permanent.
There's also a risk of serious problems affecting the brain during or after a coronary artery bypass graft, such as a stroke. It's estimated that around one in every 50 people who has a coronary artery bypass graft will experience a stroke, which can leave you with permanent movement, speaking and swallowing problems, and in some cases can be fatal.
Both the heart and the coronary arteries that supply the heart with blood are in a vulnerable state after a coronary artery bypass graft, particularly during the first 30 days after surgery.
Around one in every 15-50 people who have a coronary artery bypass graft are estimated to have a heart attack during surgery, or shortly afterwards. Heart attacks are the leading cause of death after a coronary artery bypass graft.
Following a coronary artery bypass graft, there are several factors that increase your risk of developing complications, including:
Your surgical team will be able to provide you with more detailed information about any specific risks before you have surgery.