During the last decade or so, certain surgical procedures have been developed with a view to increasing the blood supply to the ischaemic portions of the heart muscle, either by bypassing the obstruction in the coronary artery (coronary bypass operation) or by removing the obstruction itself (coronary angioplasty). Surgical techniques have also been developed to remove defective sac-like portions of the heart (aneurysm of the heart) formed as a result of a heart attack and which seriously interfere with the normal function of the heart as a pump (aneurysmectomy).


Q. What is a coronary bypass ?

A. This is an operation in which a blood vessel graft is inserted, joining the aorta with the coronary artery beyond the point of obstruction, so that the latter is literally bypassed and the normal flow of blood is resumed. The graft is usually made from a vein obtained from the leg, or, more recently, from an artery of the chest wall (internal mammary artery).

Q. How does the surgeon find the obstruction which is to be bypassed?

A. Coronary angiography provides the answer. This investigation is a prerequisite, before surgery can be planned, in order to detect and localise the obstruction(s) and to ascertain if the operation is technically feasible or long-term drug therapy would be more suitable.


Cardio & Blood


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