coronary artery bypass

coronary artery disease

The coronary artery bypass - A major heart operation that is carried out in order to bypass coronary arteries that have become narrowed or blocked (usually as a result of atherosclerosis). The procedure involves using additional blood vessels (such as a mammary artery or a vein from the leg) to improve blood flow to the heart muscle.

A coronary artery bypass is performed if symptoms of coronary artery disease have not been relieved by drugs, or if balloon angioplasty (a surgical procedure used to widen blocked arteries) is inappropriate or has failed. Before surgery, sites of blockage are identified using an imaging procedure called angiography. Usually, a heart–lung machine is needed to maintain the circulation during the operation, although sometimes minimally invasive surgery may be used to bypass the artery, thereby avoiding the need to stop the heart.

The long-term outlook is good following a coronary artery bypass. However, the grafted vessels may also eventually become blocked by atherosclerosis. (See also Coronary artery bypass box, overleaf.)


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