Heart Bypass Surgery – Conventional and Latest Techniques

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What is a Heart Bypass surgery all about?

A heart bypass surgery (also known as bypass surgery, coronary artery bypass graft surgery or coronary artery bypass surgery) is a surgical procedure to divert the blood flow from passing through a partially or completely blocked artery by either using the left internal thoracic artery or using a grafted vein from the legs to connect the proximal end of the aorta and attaching the distal end beyond the blockage in the original artery, which normalizes the blood flow to the heart muscles.

Heart bypass basically provides an alternative pathway for the blood to avoid the blocked artery and enter the heart through the new passage.

How is a Heart Bypass surgery performed?

There are basically three methods for performing a heart bypass surgery. The doctor chooses the method of surgery to be used depending on your overall health and certain factors that will contribute to the surgery being completely successful.

The types of heart bypass procedures are:

Conventional (On-Pump) heart bypass surgery

In this type of procedure the surgeon will make an incision of around 6-8 inches along the center of your breast bone to gain a clear access to the heart. The surgeon will attach you to a heart-lung bypass machine, which is a substitute for functioning as your lungs and heart, for the duration of the surgical procedure. This lets the surgeon to halt the heart and perform the bypass procedure more easily.

The surgeon will either use the left internal thoracic artery to divert the blood from the blocked artery or he may use a great saphenous vein from the leg, chest or arm as a graft (substitute) for the blocked artery and use this to bypass the blocked artery and facilitate the normal flow of blood to the heart from the body.

After the bypass procedure is complete the surgeon will close the incision in the breast bone using special sterna wires along with special internal and external stitches.

Off-Pump heart bypass surgery

In this type of heart bypass surgery the surgeon will not attach you to the heart-lung bypass machine to stop the beating of the heart completely. Instead the surgeon will perform the bypass procedure by using specialized instrument to brace only certain portions of the heart from beating while the rest of the heart keeps functioning normally.

This type of procedure is considered ideal for patients who are considered to be at an increased risk of complications as well as patients suffering from vascular diseases such as aortic calcification, carotid artery stenosis or any other breathing and kidney disorder.

Minimally Invasive heart bypass surgery

This is the latest in heart bypass procedures and is also considered to be more convenient for the patients. In this type of heart bypass procedure the surgeon needs to make smaller incisions (around 3 inches) in your chest region. This procedure mostly uses ‘robotic-assisted’ surgical instruments which allow the surgeon better precision and the need to halt the heart is not required.

What are the Benefits of a Heart Bypass Surgery?

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The following are the benefits of a heart bypass surgery:

  • In case of angina the bypass surgery relieves the pain and risk of the artery getting blocked again.
  • Bypass surgery of the heart is more beneficial than medicinal procedure to remove blockage from the artery.
  • Bypass surgery prevents blockages in the artery from occurring in the future.

In case of a blocked artery the doctor/surgeon will check your complete medical history and perform the required diagnostic procedures to determine the best type of heart bypass surgical procedure that is more efficient for your individual case.

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