Heart Bypass Surgery Procedure

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Your Heart Bypass Surgery Procedure

Conducting a heart bypass surgery procedure is one of the epitome tasks in the surgical profession. Few other surgical operations can compare to the complexity, risk and sensitivity associated with a heart bypass.

A heart bypass surgery procedure involves providing a new pathway for the blood to flow into the heart if and when coronary arteries are blocked by cholesterol deposits in a condition known as atherosclerosis. There are multiple methods of providing new pathways to the heart and each of these methods is the ultimate goal of a successful heart bypass surgery procedure.

First, a heart specialist examines the patient to determine the extent of potential or existing blockage in the coronary arteries. Methods to do this include using medical ink to check the pathways or using very small endoscopes to visually check the condition of suspect arteries. Once a blockage is confirmed, the heart specialist confers with a heart surgeon to determine the best available method to fix the blockage. This typically involves grafting which is getting a healthy artery from a different part of the body and placing it in the heart to channel the blood flow in what is actually known as the heart bypass surgery procedure.

The common sources of arteries for grafting the heart are the internal mammary arteries, the saphenous veins which come from the leg, the radial artery coming from the arm, the gastroepiploic artery and the inferior epigastric artery located in the stomach.

Once the preferred grafting method and source have been determined, the heart bypass surgery procedure can proceed. The first step requires the patient to be “put under” requiring the injection of anesthesia or pain killers and an induction agent to render the patient unconscious during the whole procedure. Next, a tube is inserted into the patient’s lung and a mechanical ventilator is put in to ensure fresh supply of air even as the respiratory system temporarily shuts down or its function minimized. It is during this point that the heart surgeon cuts into the chest area to expose the still beating heart. The heart bypass surgery procedure then proceeds with the surgeon harvesting the required arteries to be grafted into the heart.

Depending on the nature of the surgery, the surgeon can use a mechanical blood circulation device to continually circulate the blood even while the heart is temporarily stopped. Afterwards, the grafting process can begin with the surgeon attaching the new arteries to the areas that require a bypass. The heart is then re-started, the arterial clamps removed, and the chest cavity sewn together to close the wound. Last, the patient is moved to the Intensive Care Unit for observation following the next few days after the heart bypass surgery procedure. It is at this stage that the patient is most vulnerable to complications and is closely watched until recovery is certain.

Doctors who specialize in heart surgery require extensive training before they are allowed to operate on an actual patient. Some of these trainings include observing actual heart bypass surgery procedures without being actually involved. This helps to ensure that only qualified doctors attempt a surgery as delicate as a heart bypass.

Today, successful grafts are viable from 8 to 15 years after the operation depending on many factors from personal health to the quality of the procedure. Still, today, a heart bypass surgery procedure is one of the most reliable means to treat coronary artery blockages. Of course, the best method to be assured of health is to stay away from risk factors that lead to heart bypass. However, it is good to know that there’s a procedure that can help save the lives of those who are already suffering from potentially fatal heart ailments; that is the value of a heart bypass surgery procedure.

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