Features September 2019 Issue

Advantages to Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery Come to Light

This illustration shows a left internal mammary artery (LIMA) bypass graft (in white) to the left anterior descending artery (LAD). The graft reroutes blood around an obstruction in the LAD, bringing blood to heart muscle nourished by this important artery. New research shows that bypass grafts not only prevent an obstruction from causing a heart attack, but also can prevent damage from blockages that may occur later in the same artery. Stents can open a target lesion, but cannot protect against future events.

Advantages to Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery Come to Light

Surgery, but not stenting, protects patients with stable coronary disease from future heart attacks and death.

Most heart-attack-causing lesions occur in the upper one-third of an artery. CABG bypasses these lesions and much of the remaining artery by attaching the bypass graft far downstream in an area less vulnerable to disease. As the disease continues to evolve in the artery, the bypass graft continues delivering oxygenated blood to the heart muscle nourished by the artery. This is how CABG prevents future heart attacks from occurring.

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