Information for the public
Coronary artery disease is when 1 or more of the arteries that carry blood to the heart muscle (coronary arteries) become narrowed or blocked by the build-up of fatty deposits. It can cause chest pain (angina), heart attack and heart failure.
Coronary artery bypass grafting (sometimes called CABG) is 1 way of treating it. A healthy blood vessel is taken from another part of the body and attached to the diseased artery in the heart so that blood flow to the heart muscle bypasses the blockage. The saphenous vein in the leg is the most commonly used blood vessel. Usually, the saphenous vein is removed by making 1 or more long cuts along the leg (an 'open' technique).
NICE has looked at using keyhole saphenous vein harvesting as another way of removing the vein.
NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk) may be a good place to find out more.