In an open-chest, beating-heart bypass procedure, surgeons make an incision through the breastbone to gain access to the heart. In many cases, surgeons do a partial sternotomy — which is a shorter incision through the breastbone than a full sternotomy. Unlike traditional bypass surgery, the heart is not stopped during a beating-heart bypass procedure. This approach uses special devices to stabilize the part of the heart the surgeon is operating on.
At UChicago Medicine, beating-heart bypass is typically performed without the use of a heart-lung bypass machine, though it may be performed with the support of the machine in select cases.