What Happens in a Bypass Surgery & Is It a Cure for Coronary Heart Disease?

What Happens in a Bypass Surgery?

Bypass surgery usually means the coronary bypass surgery. Bypass surgery is a surgical procedure to divert the flow of blood from the section of the blocked artery towards the heart muscles. This diversion provides a pathway for unrestricted blood supply to the heart muscles.

In a typical coronary bypass surgery, healthy blood vessels are taken from other parts of the patient’s body such as the leg, arm or the chest. These blood vessels are then connected to the other arteries of the heart so that a bypass pathway is created for the blood to flow to the heart muscles. It must be noted that the entire bypass surgery procedure is done by a skilled team of surgeons and may take few hours to be done successfully.

What Happens in a Bypass Surgery?

When Does One Have To Undergo A Bypass Surgery?

According to the medical protocol, when plaque buildup is enough to block an artery up to 70%, the artery is medically said to be blocked. Such amount of block can be treated by balloon angioplasty or stent placement. In case more than two arteries are detected to be blocked, the doctor may ask the patient to go for a coronary bypass surgery.

Is a Bypass Surgery A Cure For Coronary Heart Disease?

Although it is true that a bypass surgery creates new pathways for oxygenated blood to the heart muscles; bypass surgery is not the cure for coronary heart disease. If proper lifestyle changes are adopted after the surgery, the risks of developing yet more blockages can be avoided. In order to reduce the risks of further plaque deposits, a healthy and active lifestyle has to be adopted. They include

  • Since cholesterol is known to be a contributor to plaque formation, effort must be made to maintain a low level of cholesterol.
  • Patient should keep a check on his/ her body weight. In case of obesity, it should be reduced. This is because obesity leads to greater amount of fatty deposits which increases the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Intake of alcohol should be limited, preferably stopped.
  • Intake of healthy and balanced diet, with the minimum amount of oil consumption, is recommended.
  • Patients are recommended to exercise regularly to keep the heart healthy.
  • Diabetes and high blood pressure should be kept under check.
  • Patient has to quit smoking.

Prescribed medications by the doctor post bypass surgery should be strictly followed. The patient may also be prescribed heart rehabilitation which should be followed diligently for as long as the doctor says, for a speedy recovery from bypass surgery.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Bypass Surgery?

Coronary bypass surgery is a major medical operation that takes quite some time for recovery. After the bypass surgery operation, the patient might have to spend a day or two in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for observation. In absence of any kind of complications, the patient is likely to be discharged from the hospital within a week of the bypass surgery operation. It is to be remembered that going back to home does not imply the end of recovery of the patient who has gone through bypass surgery. The patient might feel some amount of difficulty to perform daily activities, which is quite normal. Patient should consult the doctor in case of any uncomfortable symptoms like

  • Sudden or worsened chest pain
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Noticeable form of discharge from the wound or blood clots.

A complete recovery from bypass surgery can be expected within a period of six to twelve weeks. Once the doctor makes sure of the recovery, the patient can resume living a normal life and even return to work.

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