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To Pump or Not to Pump?

Shatzer, Melanie B. MSN, RN, CCRN; George, Elisabeth L. PhD, RN, CCRN; Wei, Lawrence MD


Coronary artery bypass grafting is performed on the beating heart and thus requires the use of cardiopulmonary bypass. To avoid the complications associated with cardiopulmonary bypass, off-pump bypass (OPB) is viewed as a desirable alternative. Technological advancements have made OPB a viable option in an expanding population of patients. As a result, the number of OPB surgeries performed annually in the United States has increased. Critical care nurses are increasingly likely to provide care for patients after off-pump surgery. The differences between on-pump and OPB surgeries affect the postoperative nursing care requirements. While there are many common aspects of postoperative cardiac care for these 2 groups of surgical patients, there is a need to focus on the unique aspects of care for OPB patients. Despite promising short-term results in OPB patients, questions surrounding this procedure remain. Studies are under way to determine long-term graft patency.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Presbyterian-Shadyside, Presbyterian (Ms Shatzer and Dr George), and the University of Pittsburgh (Dr Wei), Pittsburgh, Pa.

Corresponding author: Melanie B. Shatzer, MSN, RN, CCRN, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Presbyterian-Shadyside, Presbyterian Campus, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.