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Bypass Surgery

by Pierre S. Aoukar, MD and Hratch L. Karamanoukian, MD
Posted: March 2

This is the shortened term for CABG or coronary artery bypass grafting. Another term used almost interchangeably is open-heart surgery, though open-heart surgery can have numerous implications. CABG or bypass is considered as a last alternative for treating heart disease (or CAD-coronary artery disease), because it is major surgery. In many instances it required opening up the chest through the sternum to expose the heart and in new developed less invasive procedure, the heart can be access through a small incision on the left side of the chest. The operation itself can be done in several ways. An artery (left internal mammary artery) from the chest wall can be dissected out and the free end attached to a coronary artery (usually the left anterior descending or LAD) to supply blood to that artery beyond a blockage. If additional blockages exist, saphenous veins from the legs can be used to create a connection from the aorta (large artery coming out of the heart) to a coronary artery that needs blood. This procedure of using an alternative blood supply to the hearts arteries, in effect, “bypasses” the blockages that exist in those arteries, hence the term. Studies have shown that patients with an occlusion of the LAD do better with bypass surgery than with angioplasty or stent. However, each person’s anatomy and disease are slightly different and these factors to a great extent will determine whether one will or can undergo bypass surgery.

Bypass Surgery, Excerpt from the book: Everything Good For The Heart: The A to Z Guide, Aoukar PS and Karamanoukian HL. Magalhaes Scientific Press


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