Features January 2008 Issue

More Heart Surgeries Mean Patients Living Longer

Technology, surgical skill, and better self-care by patients add up to greater survival rates.

With the number of follow-up heart surgeries on the rise around the country, one might assume that the second and sometimes third procedures were made necessary because things werenít done right the first time. The truth is, patients are surviving longer, outliving devices and requiring additional care as they live more years with heart disease. A tissue heart valve, for example, may last only around 15 years. An estimated 20 to 30 percent of patients who have one bypass surgery will need a second within 10 years. Itís also common for a heart patient who has one angiography and stent placement to have more in the years ahead.

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