Coronary Artery Bypass

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Coronary Artery Bypass
Coronary Artery Bypass

image by: Yasser Ajhir

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A Cardiac Conundrum

Nowadays cardiac surgery is taken for granted, whether it's operating on infants or performing heart transplantation. However if there one procedure that has generated more controversy, hands down it has to be coronary bypass surgery.

Coronary bypass has the longer history, traceable to 1910, when one surgeon made an (unsuccessful) attempt to perform bypass surgery on a dog.

But it wasn’t until 1968 that Rene Favaloro of the Cleveland Clinic described his success with human coronary artery bypass surgery: he grafted a vein taken from the patient’s leg into the heart’s vascular system to replace a blocked coronary artery. Favaloro’s report captured the imagination of many surgeons. Initially…

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 A Cardiac Conundrum

...bypass surgery improved survival for a few patients with the most severe forms of coronary artery disease, but for most others it relieved symptoms but did not extend lives.” The results raise a philosophical question of the goal of medical treatment: alleviating symptoms or lengthening lives? “How much is it worth investing in a surgical procedure, with all its risks,” he asks, “if all you’re doing is relieving symptoms?”


Bypass Surgery Animation.

Mayo Clinic

Coronary bypass surgery is a common procedure used to divert blood around blocked arteries in the heart. Coronary bypass surgery remains one of the gold standard surgical treatments for coronary artery disease.


According to the American Heart Association 427,000 coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgeries were performed in the United States in 2004, making it one of the most commonly performed major operations. CABG surgery is advised for selected groups of patients with significant narrowings and blockages of the heart arteries (coronary artery disease).

Texas Heart Institute

Bypass surgery is the most common type of heart surgery. More than 240,000 people have successful bypass surgery in the United States each year.

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