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Open Heart Vs Bypass Surgery

Open heart surgery is performed by making cuts in the patient's chest to reach their heart. Whereas bypass surgery is a specific type of open-heart surgery where the remainder surgery is off-pump or on-pump.

  • 36,260 Views | Updated on: Oct 13, 2023

An open heart and bypass are two terms most commonly heard with regards to heart surgery, but both are entirely different terms. To stay informed, you must recognize the fundamental or intrinsic difference between open heart surgery and bypass surgery.

In case you get confused between the two, here are all the details you need to know about:

What is Open Heart Surgery?

As the name suggests, this kind of heart surgery is performed by making cuts in the patient’s chest to reach their heart. Open heart surgery is performed in case there is a blockage in the artery supplying blood to the heart. It is conducted to prevent the risk of a fatal heart attack and replace or repair the damaged heart valves.

What is a Bypass Surgery?

Bypass surgery is a specific type of open-heart surgery where the doctors usually open up the patient’s chest to access the heart. After opening up the chest, the doctors perform the remainder of the surgery in two avatars: off-pump and on-pump.

For off-pump surgeries, the patient’s heart keeps on beating throughout the entire procedure; thus, it is also known as beating heart surgery. Under this surgery, no heart-lung machine is required by the doctor. Also, this type of surgery is often possible without the cut in the chest and is thus categorized as closed heart surgery. The side effects and risks vary from individual to individual. Seek the advice of doctors in this case.

On the other hand, in the case of an on-pump surgery, the surgeons use heart-lung machines to stop the heart and efficiently conduct the operation. The heart-lung device helps in blood circulation and breathing alike. This surgery is performed by making cuts in the chest of the patient.

Now that you know the difference between bypass and open heart surgery, you can easily make an informed and well-thought-of decision when it comes to buying an appropriate plan.

When Do You Need Heart Surgery?

You may require heart surgery under the below-mentioned conditions:

  • If the blockage is witnessed in the left hand main coronary artery of the patient.
  • Severe chest pain due to the blockages in multiple arteries responsible for supplying blood to the body.
  • An artery has witnessed narrowing symptoms after any procedure that has been taken.
  • An ailment has grown inside the coronary arteries, which has led to issues in the functioning of the left-side ventricle.

Care and Other Aspects

After a heart surgery is performed, it takes time for the patient to recover. Therefore, the patient should stay under appropriate care to combat any side effects and heal faster. Some of the main aspects worth noting in the patient after the surgery include:

  • The wound zone of the patient should remain dry and clean all the time.
  • In case of drainage/oozing of blood or redness/burning feelings around the cut in the chest or if there is a fever exceeding 100 F, the doctor should be called immediately.
  • The patient must rest properly and avoid pulling, pushing or lifting heavy items or standing in a single position for more than 15 minutes.
  • They should not walk every day or lift weights.
  • They should not climb the stairs or drive in most cases.
  • The patient should consume a healthy and balanced diet and not eat fried or spicy foods.
  • The doctor recommends light meals and exercises.
  • Doctors even recommend CABG in case the patient has blocked arteries in the heart, which might cause a heart attack in the future. It is a precaution taken to avoid future fatalities.

Are these Surgeries Covered Under the Health Insurance Plan?

In today’s time, many health insurance companies offer critical illness coverage to the policyholder. The plan provides coverage for all the types of surgeries the policyholder undergoes, including bypass and open-heart surgery. Also, all heart-related ailments are aptly covered under the insurance policy.


Having a clear understanding of the difference between open heart surgery and bypass surgery, you must also know that these surgeries involve huge costs. Undergoing an open heart or a bypass surgery helps to avoid the risk of losing life. In these cases, getting financial aid through a health insurance plan is advisable.

Therefore, you must plan and buy a critical illness plan from a health insurance company to get financial aid during an uncertain and unpredictable time without worrying about your finances.

- A Consumer Education Initiative series by Kotak Life

Amit Raje
Written By :
Amit Raje

Amit Raje is an experienced marketer who has worked in various Fintechs and leading Financial companies in India. With focused experience in Digital, Amit has pioneered multiple digital commerce in India. Now, close to two decades later, he is the vice president and head of the D2C business department. He masters the skill of strategic management, also being certified in it from IIMA. He has challenged his challenges and contributed his efforts in this journey of digital transformation.

Amit Raje
Reviewed By :
Prasad Pimple

Prasad Pimple has a decade-long experience in the Life insurance sector and as EVP, Kotak Life heads Digital Business. He is responsible for developing user friendly product journeys, creating consumer awareness and helping consumers in identifying need for life insurance solutions. He has 20+ years of experience in creating and building business verticals across Insurance, Telecom and Banking sectors

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