Alternatives for Bypass Surgery
If you are trying to avoid bypass surgery, you may have a couple of options, including undergoing catheter procedures and/or taking certain medications. While medications can treat the symptoms of blocked coronary arteries, they can't fix them. Another alternative is balloon angioplasty, which is a type of catheter procedure that can help restore blood flow to the blocked artery. However, some people may not be good candidates for these bypass surgery alternatives.
(Technically speaking, an open heart surgery is any procedure where the chest is opened, which certainly includes procedures beyond a heart bypass (a valve replacement, for example). However, because a heart bypass is the most common type of open heart surgery, for the purposes of this article, we will be using the terms "bypass" and "open heart surgery" interchangeably.)
Alternatives for bypass surgery include taking prescription medications and undergoing catheter procedures.
Taking medications may help:
- Improve the efficiency of each heartbeat
- Remove excess fluids
- Decrease the demands on the heart
- Control high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia), and even smoking habits.
However, medication can only help treat the symptoms of blocked coronary arteries, rather than help to fix them.
A catheter procedure called balloon angioplasty is another bypass surgery alternative. It does not require surgery, but it is invasive. During angioplasty, a balloon-like device is used to expand the blockage in your artery and restore blood flow. However, your cardiologist may have already evaluated your condition and may think that you are not a candidate for angioplasty.