Minimally Invasive Direct Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (MIDCAB), is an innovative technique for treating coronary artery disease. Instead of the traditional approach to coronary bypass surgery (CABG), which requires cutting the breastbone in half, stopping the heart, and using the heart-lung machine, MIDCAB is performed with a small incision (around 3 inches) between the ribs.
Once or more blockages in the heart can be reached with these small incisions. The advantages of MIDCAB are several. Most importantly, the patient can be spared the pain of cutting open the breast-bone. Because the breastbone is not opened and closed, patients can return to driving, exercise and work much sooner. The procedure is less traumatic to the body and avoids use of the heart-lung machine, meaning that the heart continues to beat during the procedure.
It is important to realize, that these procedures are not done in every hospital nor is every patient the right candidate. After learning that a patient needs coronary artery bypass surgery, they should immediately ask if they are a candidate for this less invasive approach.