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Treatment for Heart Disease

Coronary Bypass Surgery
Open heart bypass surgery is often used as a heart disease treatment when artery blockages are hard to reach or are too extensive for angioplasty. In this procedure, the surgeon takes a piece of blood vessel from the leg or chest and then attaches it to the heart artery, both above and below the narrowed area. This procedure creates a new route, or "bypass," around the blockage. Afterward, the blood can use this new pathway to flow freely to the heart muscle, thereby reducing the risk of a heart attack. In some cases, more than one bypass is necessary.
For most operations, the patient is connected to a heart-lung machine that delivers oxygen to the blood and circulates it throughout the body so that the heart can be temporarily stopped while the bypass is made. When the surgery is finished, the heart is restarted. A person who undergoes bypass surgery usually stays in the hospital for about a week and then continues to recuperate for several weeks at home.
Two recently developed types of bypass surgery do not require use of the heart-lung machine. These include:
  • Off-pump coronary bypass surgery. In this procedure, also known as beating heart bypass surgery, the heart is kept beating and just the portion of the heart with the affected artery is held still while the bypass graft is sewn into place. While more study is needed on this approach, recent research suggests that this type of bypass surgery may have fewer complications than conventional bypass surgery, particularly for overweight and elderly patients.
  • Minimally invasive coronary artery bypass. This procedure is intended for use only when one or two arteries will be bypassed. Also performed while the heart is still beating, the surgery uses a combination of small holes in the chest and a small incision made directly over the artery to be bypassed. The surgeon usually detaches an artery from inside the chest wall and reattaches it to the clogged artery furthest away from the blockage. This operation usually has a shorter recovery time than conventional bypass surgery.
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Treatments for Heart Disease

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