Coronary bypass surgery is a surgical procedure that diverts the flow of blood around a section of a blocked or partially obstructed coronary artery in your heart. By creating a new pathway to the heart, coronary bypass surgery improves blood flow to your heart muscle. During coronary bypass surgery, a healthy blood vessel is taken from your leg, arm or chest and connected to the other arteries in your heart so that blood bypasses the diseased or blocked area. After coronary heart bypass surgery, symptoms, such as chest pain and shortness of breath due to poor blood flow to the heart, generally improve. For some people, coronary bypass surgery may improve heart function and reduce the risk of dying of heart disease. The cardiologist takes a healthy piece of vein from the leg or artery from the chest or wrist. Then the surgeon attaches it to the coronary artery, just above and below the narrowed area or blockage. This allows blood to bypass (get around) the blockage. Sometimes people need more than one bypass. Balloon angioplasty is the most common doctor-recommended alternative to heart bypass surgery. During this treatment, a tube is threaded through the clogged artery, and a small balloon is inflated to widen the artery. The doctor then removes the tube and the balloon. In most cases, they leave behind a small metal scaffold called a stent that will keep the artery from contracting back to its original size.
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