Doctor Blogs

Heart Bypass surgery- Myths & Facts
by: Dr. Neerav Bansal
Director Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Surgery

What is bypass surgery?

Heart bypass surgery is an operation in which a blood vessel is taken from your chest or leg and attached to the blood vessel of your heart (coronary artery) past the area which is having a blockage causing symptoms like chest pain, tightness, shortness of breath etc. By doing this, the area which had reduced blood supply due to blockages starts receiving the blood again and thus relieving the symptoms.

When is bypass surgery needed?
It is believed that bypass surgery is used as the last resort when everything has failed, it is not so. There are two ways of improving the blood supply to the heart muscles, one is bypass surgery, the other one being PTCA (commonly called stenting). 
The feasibility and indications of these procedures differ from patient to patient. The decision as to which procedure is suitable for a given patient is taken by the heart specialist comprising of Cardiologist, Cardiac surgeons & Intensive care specialist. Multiple factors like patient’s age, diabetes, nature and length of blockages and heart functions are also considered while reaching a conclusion. 

Why a bypass surgery?
A common question asked by many patients is “why is bypass surgery required and why stenting is not possible? This is not the question of possibility, but it is about the best treatment option for the patient’s heart and life that is advised by heart specialist. 
Recovery after bypass surgery
Recovery after surgery takes a bit more time as compared to the non-surgical techniques but most of the patients are discharged within a week of surgery, fit enough to climb stairs and do their routine activities. By the end of 4 weeks, they can go back to work and after 6 weeks most of them are fit to pursue any activity as their age and body permits including driving.

Risk of bypass surgery
With the advances in surgical, anesthetic & intensive Care techniques and with state of the art equipment, the risk of bypass surgery is not more that the risk of any other heart procedure like PTCA (stenting) in good hospitals with experienced team.

Can bypass surgery be done in diabetic patients?
It is a myth that if a patient is diabetic, he/she won’t be able to tolerate bypass surgery. In fact world over & in India also most bypass surgeries are done in diabetic patients. Diabetic patients with multiple blockages show better results after bypass surgery.

Bypass surgery is the last option.
As with time, more of the younger population is getting affected by heart diseases, the indication of bypass surgery as the first procedure is gradually increasing. And this surgery is being advised as the first best option.

    Director – Cardiothoracic Surgery

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