Beating Heart Bypass Surgery Alternatives
Some patients wish to avoid beating heart bypass surgery. Alternatives include medication, balloon angioplasty, and stent placement. Medications can improve symptoms and help your heart beat more regularly, but cannot restore blood flow to damaged areas. Balloon angioplasty and stents increase blood flow, but are not an option for everyone. These factors should be discussed with your doctor before pursuing beating heart bypass alternatives.
Beating Heart Bypass Surgery Alternatives: An OverviewThere are three other possible treatments for blocked coronary arteries other than beating heart bypass surgery. Alternatives include:
- Balloon angioplasty
- Placement of a stent.
Medications as Beating Heart Bypass Surgery Alternatives
Depending on your overall health, medications can be used to treat the symptoms of blocked coronary arteries. They may help your heart beat more regularly, and can decrease the heart's workload by removing extra fluid from your system.
Other medications help control health problems that can cause or worsen the symptoms of blocked coronary arteries. These problems can be associated with:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolemia)
- Other health concerns -- like smoking.
While medications may help relieve the symptoms of blocked arteries, it's important to remember that they don't restore blood flow to the part of the heart that isn't getting enough blood.
Balloon Angioplasty and Stents as Beating Heart Bypass Surgery AlternativesThe two alternative procedures, balloon angioplasty and placement of a stent, do increase blood flow to the heart. During a balloon angioplasty, a flexible plastic tube, or catheter, is inserted into the blocked coronary artery. Then a small balloon is expanded inside the blockage. This usually opens up the artery and lets blood flow through it again.
The blocked section may also be kept open by putting in a piece of wire mesh tubing, called a stent. This keeps the walls of the artery apart after the blockage has been opened. Stents may be used instead of, or in addition to, a balloon angioplasty. However, these two procedures are not an option for everyone.