Risk Of Stroke After A Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

Those that undergo a bypass surgery successfully can celebrate the addition of a couple more years of life. However, that doesn’t mean that there is no risk of stroke after a coronary artery bypass graft surgery. In fact…

According to the statistics, there are around 700,000 strokes each year in the United States. And, around 25% of these strokes prove to be fatal, with the rest leading to serious disablement. Now, out of all strokes, 87% are considered ischemic strokes, which are strokes caused by atherosclerosis in patients.

What does that mean for you?

Is Chemic Stroke

The most common type of strokes are ischemic strokes, and these are what’s relevant to patients who undergo a coronary artery bypass graft.

To keep it simple, a CABG surgery is performed in order to create a new ‘route’ or ‘passage’ around the blocked off arteries in your heart. This will allow blood, and thus oxygen and nutrients, to flow to your heart muscles.

Now, the brain also depends on this process as it relies on your heart and lungs in order to bring it fresh blood. Unfortunately, while a CABG might help decrease your risk of a heart attack and death, the cost of having the surgery done could be complications in your intracranial and extracranial arteries. And, those complications, could result in an ischemic stroke.

Cause Of Stroke After CABG

In a study that was aimed at defining the relationship between cerebral atherosclerosis and stroke after a coronary artery bypass graft, the researchers found that in the 1,367 consecutive CABG patients that were assessed, the stroke had occurred in 33 patients. These researchers recommended that the evaluation of intracranial and extracranial cerebral arteries pre-operatively could help predict the risk of stroke after a CABG surgery.

However, in a different study, made out of 705 patients, it was discovered that those who incurred a stroke post-CABG had a substantially worse experience in the hospital. To be exact,

  • 19% experienced mortal risk,
  • 44% experienced prolonged ventilation,
  • 13% experienced renal failure,
  • and others experienced complications that required they spend longer in the intensive care unit and spend more time recovering.

These numbers have since dropped in recent years as medical equipment and training has improved. With this other study reporting only 3.7% experiencing mortal risk, 15% experiencing prolonged ventilation, and 4.3% experiencing renal failure.

Thus, it could also be stipulated that stroke after CABG may occur because of the quality of care the patients are provided while in the hospital. Nevertheless, these are speculations, and more trials are needed before we can understand the full truth.


In conclusion, there is a risk of stroke after a coronary artery bypass graft. And, your chances may depend on the quality of the procedure that you undergo, and what you do after the fact in order to recover and improve upon your health.

However, with the help of new-age technology and medicine, these risks have since decreased. There are also many preventative measures available that can be applied in order to stay said risks. So, don’t be afraid to talk to a medical professional to ask about what can be done for you.


  1. “Atherosclerosis and Stroke.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/stroke/guide/how-artherosclerosis-causes-50-percent-of-strokes#1.
  2. Kim, Jong S., and Sun U. Kwon. “Stroke Risk After Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery and Extent of Cerebral Artery Atherosclerosis.” JACC, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 3 May 2011, www.onlinejacc.org/content/57/18/1811.
  3. Tarakji, Khaldoun G. “Temporal Onset, Risk Factors, and Outcomes Associated With Stroke After Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting.” JAMA, American Medical Association, 26 Jan. 2011, jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/645311.

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