What to Expect in a Coronary Bypass Surgery?

admin | June 4, 2013 | Coronary bypass surgery

Coronary Bypass Surgery?

The surgical procedure of diverting blood flow around a blocked artery section in the heart to restore blood flow to the heart muscle is called Coronary Bypass Surgery. In this procedure a healthy blood vessel is taken from the patient’s arm, leg, abdomen of chest and is used to connect other arteries allowing the blood to flow through it, also diverting it from the blocked area. Hence, this procedure is also known as Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) or colloquially, Heart Bypass. The procedure usually takes three to six hours under general anesthesia.

Coronary bypass surgery improves the circulation of blood to the heart, improving the heart’s function and reduces fatal risks caused due to heart disease. Symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain caused due to the poor flow of blood to the heart can also be efficiently reduced by this procedure.

Coronary Bypass Surgery

Coronary Bypass Surgery

There are several options to treat a heart disease. Coronary bypass surgery is an option only under the following conditions -

  • Narrowing of arteries that leave the heart muscles short of blood during physical activity causing the patient severe chest pain. Although some types of blockages can be treated by stenting and angioplasty, for some blockages bypass surgery is the only option.
  • If the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, is not functioning well due to one or more diseased coronary artery.
  • Severely blocked or narrowed left main coronary artery.
  • When angioplasty has failed or cannot be performed.
  • Restenosis – a condition where the artery narrows again despite a stent placement.
  • Emergency situations such as a severe heart attack or if the patient does not respond to other heart treatments.

Fatty deposits called plaques build-up in the inner walls of arteries narrowing and hardening it. This condition is called as atherosclerosis. When this happens in the coronary arteries, the patient suffers from coronary heart disease that can cause chest pain when rich oxygenated blood gets restricted to the heart. The risk factors that causes coronary heart disease are -

  • a high-fat diet
  • old-age
  • obesity
  • smoking

The recovery period for those who undergo a bypass surgery varies from person to person. However, doctors will check if the patient is able to sit in a chair one day after the surgery, walk after three days and climb stairs after six days.

Although the heart attack risk is greatly lowered and the patient may experience a significant improvement post surgery, healthy lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, maintaining weight by regular exercise, quitting smoking and consuming less alcohol are a must. Patients must take the prescribed medications as instructed by the physician without fail. Those medications will prevent further blood clots and keep the cholesterol levels under control.

Like all surgeries, even coronary bypass surgery has a risk of complications, sometimes resulting in a heart attack or stroke that could be fatal. Therefore it is very important for the patient to consult with the doctor, discuss the risks involved, get related health check-ups done and follow all dietary instructions in preparation for the surgery.

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