Heart bypass surgery is the colloquial name for coronary artery bypass surgery or coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG – often pronounced ‘cabbage’). It is the most frequently performed surgery in the USA.
In the heart bypass surgery, a piece of a vein from the leg or artery from the chest or wrist is used as the graft. This is attached to the coronary artery above and below the blockage, thus creating a bypass for blood flow. Some patients may need more than one bypass.
There are three types of heart bypass surgery. They are:
Knowing about the procedure that will be performed on you can only help you prepare mentally and physically. CABG is a major surgery and the recuperation period is fairly long. Hence, here are a few tips for you to prepare for heart bypass surgery (detailed instructions will be provided by your health professional):
Care after heart bypass surgery is very important. Mainly, all the factors that originally caused the blockages in the heart need to be kept in control. Here are some guidelines:
It has been seen that there are more chances of complications developing after heart bypass surgery if it was an emergency situation (for example, if performed during a heart attack), if you are over 70, or if you are or were a smoker. You are also more at risk if you have other diseases or conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, lung disease, or peripheral vascular disease.
Risks of heart bypass are:
Most CABG patients have a good prognosis, provided they are committed to the cardiac rehabilitation program. You can look forward to the following benefits from heart bypass surgery:
The first and most important alternative to CABG is, of course, medication and a change in lifestyle. Only when this does not work or when there is not enough time to exercise these options, surgery is advised.
The other alternatives are balloon angioplasty and stent placement. (Angioplasty includes temporarily inserting and expanding a tiny balloon at the blockage site to widen the narrowed artery. A small metal coil called a stent is then implanted in the clogged artery to prop it open and see that it does not narrow again.)
Balloon angioplasty and stents increase blood flow, but are not for everyone. Your doctor will talk to you about what’s the best option for you.
Stenting has certain restrictions when compared to CABG. Heart stents are recommended only if:
Not everyone meets these conditions and are, hence, best suited for heart bypass. Also, studies indicate that bypass surgery results in better outcomes than angioplasty in patients with multi-vessel disease, and at a lower cost.
With rising cost of medical care, CABG in the US may cost $20,000 or more. However, cheaper and quality heart bypass options are available in India, Costa Rica, and Mexico, all of which are established medical tourism destinations.
India, Turkey, Costa Rica, and Mexico have some of the leading cardiologists of the world, who routinely perform heart bypass surgery with high rates of success.
Opting for heart bypass surgery can be a life-changing decision, often for the better. As it is a major surgery, exercise caution in selecting the right hospital and right cardiac surgeon abroad.
American Heart Association: The American Heart association is a cardiac surgery information resource for patients, care-givers, healthcare professionals, and researchers.
Cardiological Society of India: The Cardiological Society of India was established in 1948 in Calcutta (now Kolkata), a year ahead of the birth of the American College of Cardiology and the International Society & Federation of Cardiology. It has among its members eminent cardiologists in India. Cardiovascular research established four decades ago in India is being carried forward with technology equal to the best in the world.
The Singapore Cardiac Society: Instituted in 1969, its mission is to advance knowledge and practice of cardiovascular medicine in Singapore and to promote regional and international co-operation in cardiovascular medicine.
Turkish Society of Cardiology: Founded in 1962, the Society’s mission is to prevent the cardiovascular risk of the Turkish population by supporting the professional and public education and research.
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