Coronary bypass surgery

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:49 pm
Coronary artery bypass surgery is performed on people suffering from severe coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the result of fatty build-ups on the inside of the arteries that lead to the heart. These build-ups can narrow the arteries and restrict the normal flow of oxygen-rich blood, or they can block the flow of blood altogether. In many cases, when medications have failed, or when a blockage is life-threatening, bypass surgery is the best solution. In this procedure, an extra vein from your leg or chest is used to 'by-pass' or go around your blocked artery. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and the initial period of recovery is spent in the intensive care unit where you will be closely monitored. Once your condition is stable, you are moved to a regular hospital room, where you receive physical, respiratory, and occupational therapy, as well as counseling to reduce risk factors for further coronary artery disease. Bypass surgery is a major surgical procedure and does carry some risks, so it's important that you speak with your doctor beforehand about possible complications. After your discharge from the hospital, you will recover at home for one to two months. Follow your doctor's instructions about risk reduction: stop smoking, reduce your consumption of fat and cholesterol, follow an exercise program, and learn how to control your blood pressure. For more information, talk with your health care provider.

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