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Difference Between Open Heart Surgery and Bypass Surgery
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Difference between Open Heart and Bypass Surgery

Open heart surgery and bypass surgery are two different terms. While they are both heart surgery types, you should recognize their fundamental or intrinsic differences in order to stay informed. Coronary bypass surgery enables redirecting the blood in the partly/fully blocked artery areas in the heart. In this system, the doctor will take any healthy artery from your legs, arms or chest and link it to a place beneath/higher than the non-functional artery in the heart. With a whole new pathway being made, the blood flow again becomes smoother without any interruptions as well. 

Yet, this type of surgery is not a cure in terms of atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease. It can however lower shortness of breath and pain in the chest while reducing fatalities for some patients and enhancing the condition of their hearts. As per reports, coronary artery bypass grafting is the surgery commonly performed for adults. This is what you should know about common heart bypass surgery

You should know the difference between surgery and operation as well. There are many people who require these surgeries every year, generating the open heart surgery vs. bypass surgery debate. It helps in the treatment of artery diseases which usually happen whenever plaque or a waxy type of material grows within the artery of the heart. It blocks oxygen and blood from reaching your heart. 

When Do You Need Heart Surgery?

You may require surgery under conditions like the following: 

  • Blockage witnessed in the left-hand main coronary artery which prevents the passage of blood into the ventricle on the left. 
  • Chest pain of a severe nature due to blockages in multiple arteries which supply blood to the body. 
  • Any procedure has taken place earlier but it has not really been effective or the artery has witnessed narrowing symptoms. 
  • An ailment has grown inside the coronary arteries, leading to issues with the functioning of the left-side ventricle and this is the core chamber which pumps the blood of the heart. 


Coronary artery disease often leads to heart attacks and the ailment may lead to blood clots and blood flow blockages. Yet, bypass surgery may enhance your health in such scenarios. You should know the right types of heart surgery that are available for such conditions along with the heart bypass surgery cost or the bypass surgery cost at healthcare centres or clinics.

Difference between Open Heart Surgery and Bypass Surgery

What is a Bypass Surgery

This is an open-heart surgery type where doctors usually open up the chest of the patient with a cut for accessing the heart. After incisions are made, the doctors may perform the remainder of the surgery in two avatars, namely off-pump and on-pump. In the case of the latter, the surgeons make use of heart-lung machines for stopping the heart and efficiently conducting the operation. The device helps in blood circulation and breathing alike. 

For off-pump surgeries, the heart keeps beating throughout the entire procedure, known as beating heart surgery. No heart-lung machine is required by the doctor for this process as a result. However, surgery is often possible without the cut in the chest and this is called closed heart surgery. The side effects and risks vary across individuals. You should always go with your doctor’s advice in this regard. 

What is Open Heart Surgery

The definition itself is quite clear, i.e. where there is an incision made to reach the heart. Bypass is a specific type of the same. This surgery is performed when there is a blockage in the artery supplying blood to the heart. To prevent the risk of a fatal heart attack, an open heart surgery is conducted. The purpose is to replace or repair the damaged heart valves. 

Care and other aspects

After heart surgery is performed, the patient will have to go through a recovery period of approximately 6-8 weeks in most cases. Thereafter, the doctor will provide instructions for follow-up care and treatments. The patient should be under suitable care in order to combat any side effects and heal faster. Some of the main aspects worth noting include the following: 

  • The wound zone should be dry and clean at all times. 
  • The doctor should be called if there is any drainage/oozing of blood or redness/burning feelings around the cut in the chest and also if there is fever exceeding 100 F. 
  • Household chores are permitted after an initial period of six to eight weeks. However, you cannot pull, push or lift heavy items or stand in a single position/place for more than 15 minutes at a stretch. 
  • You cannot walk every day or lift weights. 
  • You cannot climb the stairs or drive in most cases. 
  • You should consume healthy and balanced meals which are not fried or spicy. 
  • Light meals and exercises as recommended by the doctor should be your recovery mantra. 


CABG is also recommended by several doctors as one of the core components of open-heart surgery. Doctors usually recommend this in case the patient has blocked arteries in the heart, which may cause a future heart attack. This precaution is taken to avoid future fatalities. 

Is Open Heart and Bypass Surgery Covered Under Health Insurance Plans?

These days many health insurance companies offer critical illness coverage and separate plans for the same. These plans offer coverage for all types of surgeries including bypass and open-heart surgery.  Besides, all heart-related ailments are aptly covered under such plans. 

The Conclusion

No one wants to undergo a heart surgery, be it an open heart or bypass surgery. It becomes necessary to avoid further risk to life, as a damaged heart may lead to a fatal heart attack. In such a case, it is most appropriate to get financial aid through a health insurance plan. So, plan in advance and buy a critical illness plan from a health insurance company to get the financial aid, so that you can undergo the surgery without worrying about the finances.



What is the approximate recovery period after the heart surgery?

Recovery timelines may vary across individuals. However, in most cases, a timeline of six to eight weeks is usually recommended for getting back to normal life after the surgery. Even then, there will be restrictions to keep in mind.

Can I lift weights or exercise after my heart surgery?

You may be able to in the future but even after the 6-8 week period, you will possibly not be allowed to lift weights or go in for strenuous physical exercise. Doctors usually recommend light exercises and household chores only.

What are the restrictions that doctors impose after heart surgery?

There are many restrictions that you have to follow in these cases including not climbing the stairs and exercising lightly as recommended by the doctor. You cannot lift heavy objects or push/pull them. You cannot have spicy or fried food and should avoid standing in one place or position for more than 15 minutes at once.

Does Health insurance cover open heart surgery?

Yes, all health insurance companies offer coverage for heart surgeries under their critical illness plans. They might charge a higher premium for such coverage, but they do offer coverage for heart surgery.

Can I take a health insurance plan after bypass surgery?

You can buy a health insurance plan if you have undergone Angioplasty or Bypass surgery only once. Another condition laid by many health insurance companies is that you should have undergone a bypass surgery at a minimum interval of 6 months and maximum interval of 3 years from the day you apply for a health insurance plan.

Which are the best health insurance companies offering coverage for open heart and bypass surgeries?

Following are the best companies offering critical illness health insurance plans to cover expenses of an open heart and bypass heart surgery:
Future Generali Critical Illness Plan
HDFC ERGO Critical Illness Plan
New India Assurance Global Mediclaim
Niva Bupa Criticare Critical Illness Insurance
ManipalCigna Health Insurance Lifestyle Protection Critical Care Plan
Aditya Birla Active Secure Critical Illness Plan
Care Critical Illness Health Plan

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