Triple Bypass Surgery

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Triple Bypass Surgery Demystified: A Simple Way of Understanding this Procedure

Triple Bypass Surgery is a cardiac (heart) procedure that is done to bypass three blocked coronary arteries of the heart using artificial, donated, or autologous grafts. This procedure is indicated for patients who have CAD or coronary artery diseases. For you to be able to understand this procedure better, a simple background on anatomy and pathology is important.

What is CAD?

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) refers to a condition wherein the coronary arteries (blood vessels that carry oxygen to the heart organ) has been blocked or hardened and therefore it cannot deliver the blood and the oxygen that the heart organ needs in order to function. Lack of adequate oxygen to the heart organ can cause serious and fatal consequences such as a myocardial infarction (MI) or heart attack. That is why; CAD is one of the primary causes of MI’s and why some individuals are candidates for triple bypass surgery.

Fat deposits lining the blood vessels are the primary cause of why coronary arteries harden. On the other hand, high blood pressure can also cause blockage to a blood vessel if a wandering clot called “emboli” lodges in the lumen (hole at the center) of the blood vessel.

What is in the Name of this Procedure?

The terms attached prior to the words “bypass surgery” actually refers to the number of coronary arteries that were bypassed in the procedure. For instance, if there are three coronary arteries that are stenotic (narrowed) or blocked, then the bypass procedure is called as a Triple Bypass Surgery. If there are two unhealthy arteries, then it’s called double bypass, if there’s one – single bypass, and there could even be a quadruple or quintuple bypass.

Bypass Surgery is also referred to in other names such as: coronary artery bypass graft (CABG – pronounced as “cabbage”), coronary artery bypass surgery, or heart bypass.

The Role of Bypass Surgery in CAD

The role of Bypass Surgery, or triple bypass surgery as we are discussing in this article, in the treatment of coronary artery diseases is simple but very crucial. In a straightforward sense, since the artery that supplies the heart with blood is blocked or has hardened and therefore it is not really useful, the surgeons will have to create new passageways from which oxygenated blood can pass through and supply the heart with oxygen. The role of bypass surgery then is to create a detour towards the heart.

Simplifying Triple Bypass Surgery

In a more detailed manner, during a Triple Bypass Surgery, surgeons will have to take grafts or blood vessels from another part of the body (usually the greater saphenous vein) that shall be used as the new passageway of the blood. The surgeon will harvest the graft from the leg area. Then, from the point where the diseased coronary artery ends, the surgeon cuts it and attaches one end of the graft, and then he/she will re-connect the graft to the aorta. Therefore, the aorta is not connected to the unhealthy coronary artery anymore, but instead, it is connected to the new “coronary artery substitute,” which is the graft that is healthy, unblocked, and is not hardened for which blood can flow normally again.

There is more to know and discover about Triple Bypass Surgery. But in understanding this basic idea about the nature of the surgery, you will be able to grasp the whole picture of the cardiac procedure. Indeed, there is no room for ignorant or misinformed patients in healthcare, as it is every patient’s right to know pertinent facts that concerns his/her condition or treatment.

If you want to know more about Triple Bypass Surgery, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor as health professionals have the responsibility to educate their patients concerning all parts of the surgery before it is performed. This would include information about any bypass surgery complications that could possibly occur.

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