Off-Pump Bypass Surgery |Beating-Heart Bypass | MedStar Health

Pioneering surgery done without stopping the heart

Surgeons in our Cardiac Surgery Program developed and perfected off-pump bypass surgery, also known as beating-heart bypass surgery, in the 1990s. We now use it for nearly half of all coronary artery bypass surgeries that our doctors perform.

Traditional coronary artery bypass surgery involves stopping the heart and lungs during the procedure and using a heart-lung machine to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body. But during off-pump bypass surgery, your surgeon stabilizes and works on a specific area of the heart while the rest of your heart pumps normally.

Our expertise with this treatment option means more patients can have bypass surgery with many benefits over the traditional procedure, such as:

  • Fewer complications for the kidneys and lungs
  • Less need for blood transfusions
  • Lower risk of stroke

  • Shorter hospital stays and recovery


You’ll receive general anesthesia to make you sleep during the surgery. After removing the blood vessel to serve as a graft for the bypassed artery, your surgeon will make an incision to access your heart and the coronary arteries.

Next, your surgeon will place prongs on your heart to stabilize the area being worked on during the procedure. This allows the rest of your heart to beat normally. The surgeon will attach one end of the graft just below the diseased part of the artery and the other end to a tiny opening made in the aorta. This diverts blood flow around the blocked artery.

Recovery after off-pump bypass surgery is shorter than traditional bypass surgery, but you’ll still need to stay in the hospital for several days afterward. Your doctor may recommend that you take part in cardiac rehabilitation to help you recover safely and effectively and reduce your risk for future heart problems.

3d Illustration of heart


Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease in the United States.

Coronary Calcification

Coronary calcification occurs when calcium builds up in the plaque found in the walls of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle.

Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction (MI), requires emergency medical attention. A heart attack happens when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked.


Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.

Chest X-ray

Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.


An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.

Stress Tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.

Our locations

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MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

Additional information

Cardiac rehabilitation

Recover faster and improve your quality of life after heart disease or treatment with help from our exercise physiologists, physical therapists, and dietitians.

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.