Graft Failure and Off-Pump Bypass Surgery

Graft failure is a concern with off-pump bypass surgery, because a repeat surgery is harder to do and carries more risks. The chance of failure is increased in patients who don't make the necessary dietary and/or lifestyle changes after the surgery. How long your graft will last depends on several factors, including your health, the type of graft, and whether a heart-lung bypass machine was used.

Graft Failure and Off-Pump Bypass Surgery: An Overview

The new vein or artery that's used as a graft for bypass surgery may close over time. Grafts can last from 10 to 20 years; however, how long grafts last when they are placed during beating heart surgery (also known as off-pump bypass surgery) isn't known yet. For coronary artery bypass grafts that are done with the help of a heart-lung machine, vein grafts last an average of 10 years, while artery grafts last an average of 15 to 20 years. Your surgeon will choose the kind of graft that's best for your situation.
 
Having a graft close is more likely to happen in people who:
 
  • Continue to use tobacco products
  • Have untreated high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)
  • Don't make the necessary dietary and/or lifestyle changes after the surgery.
     
If the graft does close, your symptoms may come back.
 
Unfortunately, a repeat bypass surgery is harder to do, can be more risky than the first procedure, and may not work as well as the first one.
 
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