CORTEX
CORONARY ARTERY BYPASS
C
This procedure is now the most common and successful
major heart operation in the Western world. Each year some
10,000
people in the UK undergo the operation, which can
relieve them from dependence on drug treatment for heart
disease and restore them to active life.
WHY IT IS DONE
Site of incision
HOW IT IS DONE
Coronary artery bypass
is a major procedure,
requiring two surgeons
and lasting up to five
hours.
I
The first surgeon makes an
incision down the centre of
the patient’s chest. The heart
is then exposed by opening
the pericardium.
Narrowed coronary arteries are unable to supply the heart
muscle with a sufficient amount of blood, and, as a result,
the heart muscle becomes starved of oxygen. This may cause
angina (chest pain) or damage to the heart tissue. By joining
lengths of a vein (taken from the leg during the operation) to
the aorta and to a point below the blockages, the narrowed
or blocked sections of coronary artery can be bypassed.
Before the operation
After the operation
B y p a s s
2
Simultaneously, several
incisions are made in the leg,
and a length ofvein removed.
4
The section ofthe vein taken
from the leg is then sewn to
the aorta and to a point below the
blockage. If several arteries are
blocked, they can be bypassed by
using other sections from the same
leg vein, or an arterial graft may be
taken from the chest.
5
The heart-lung machine is
disconnected, allowing the
blood to flow back into the
coronary arteries.
P e r ic a r d iu m
6
Finally, the breastbone is wired
together, and the pericardium
and chest are sewn up.
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