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Bypass Surgery: Procedure, Recovery, Cost, Risk & Complication

What ois Bypass Surgery?

Bypass surgery refers to a surgical procedure that helps in diverting the blood flow around a blocked or partially blocked artery of the heart. It is done to create a new pathway to the heart and improving the flow of blood to the heart muscle. During this surgery, a healthy, well-functioning blood vessel is taken from the arm, chest or leg and then connected to the other arteries in the heart so that the blood can bypass the blocked or the diseased area.

Problems such as shortness of breath and chest pain, due to poor flow of blood tend to improve after a bypass surgery. It may also improve the heart function and reduce the risk of a heart disease.

Indication

One may require a bypass surgery in the following cases:

  • Suffering from severe chest pain that is caused due to the narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle
  • If more than one coronary artery is diseased, and the left ventricle is not functioning well
  • The main coronary artery in the left is narrowed or blocked, as this artery supplies the maximum blood to your left ventricle
  • An artery blockage that cannot be cured by angioplasty or a previously done angioplasty or stent placement has been unsuccessful
  • Restenosis, which involves the narrowing of the artery even after a stent replacement
  • In case of emergency situation such as a heart attack, where the patient does not respond to other treatments

What Procedure is followed :

Pre Procedure

The following preparation needs to be taken in before undergoing a bypass surgery:

  • Your doctor will provide you with the initial instructions regarding restrictions in any particular activity or changes in your diet and medicine.
  • Pre-surgical tests such as x-ray of the chest, blood tests, coronary angiogram and electrocardiogram will be conducted.
  • In most cases, a patient is admitted to the hospital in the morning of the surgery. It may also be performed in emergency conditions like just after a heart attack.

During Procedure

The procedure of a bypass surgery involves the following steps:

  • The time taken is normally 3-6 hours, and the surgery can be performed with general anaesthesia
  • An incision is made in the chest, while diverting the blood flow with the help of a heart-lung machine. The rib cage is spread opened by the surgeon, exposing the heart. The heart is made to stop working for the time being, while the heart-lung machine circulates the blood in the body.
  • The healthy blood vessel is then attached above and below the blocked artery, making sure that blood flow will bypass the narrowed part of your diseased artery.
  • A breathing tube, inserted in your mouth helps you to breathe during and post-surgery.

Post Procedure

Since bypass surgery is a major operation, you may be admitted in the ICU for one or two days while your blood pressure, breathing, heart and other vital signs will be monitored. The breathing tube remains in the throat till the time you gain consciousness and can breathe on your own. If you do not have any complications, you are likely to be discharged within a week. Initially, simple tasks like walking or your daily jobs may become difficult to perform. Consult your doctor if you face any of the following symptoms that indicate an infection of your wound:

  • Fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Pain around the wound in the chest
  • Reddening, bleeding or other discharge from the area of the wound

Risk & Complication

The risk of a complication is generally low in a bypass surgery, though it depends on your overall general health before the surgery. The risk factor will be higher if the surgery was done in an emergency basis, or if you have serious health conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, blocked arteries in the legs or emphysema (lung disease).

The possible risk and complications associated with a bypass surgery are:

  • Bleeding
  • Arrhythmias, improper beating of the heart
  • Infection of the wound in the chest
  • Stroke
  • Problems in the kidney
  • Memory loss or facing trouble when thinking clearly that generally improves in 6 months
  • Heart attack, in case a blood clot breaks loose just after the surgery

More Info

Post surgery, a patient stays well and free from any symptoms for the next 10-15 years. It is likely that the graft that has been used gets clogged eventually after a prolonged time period, requiring another bypass surgery or angioplasty. Apart from taking your medicines timely, it is important to make certain changes in lifestyle like quit smoking, maintain a healthy diet and weight, exercise on a regular basis and manage stress. Cardiac rehabilitation is another customised programme of education and exercise that helps to recover after a heart surgery.

The cost of a bypass surgery would be approximately Rs. 1,50,000 – Rs. 3,50,000.

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Popular Questions & Answers

Hi, Can we remove heart blockage naturally like for example by doing yoga or pranayams and how about arjuna ki chaal?

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Yoga & Naturopathy Specialist, Mangalore
Yes, yoga best way to keep your heart healthy. Along with yoga change your life style and maintain diet.

Table of Content

What ois Bypass Surgery?

Indication

What Procedure is followed :

Risk & Complication

More Info

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Cardiovascular Surgery
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