A very frequent disease in Cardiac Surgery is ischemic heart disease. It consists of the occlusion of the coronary arteries, which are the arteries that supply the heart muscle. The surgical treatment for this problem is what we call coronary bypass, which is to establish a vascular bridge to bypass the obstruction of the occluded artery.
Classically, the cardiac surgeon used a vein graft, for example a vein from the leg (the saphenous vein), which was joined to the aorta and then joined distally to the coronary artery affected beyond the lesion, thereby irrigating the occluded artery.
Advances in Coronary Bypass: arterial grafts
It has been seen, over time, that these venous grafts can become occluded and thrombosed over the years, so arterial grafts have also begun to be used, that is, instead of using leg veins, grafts are used, for example, from the radial artery, which is the artery of the forearm, or from the mammary artery, which is the artery that runs inside the thorax.
Always, in long-term studies of these patients with ischemic heart disease, it is very important to know the durability of these solutions provided to the patient: it has been seen that any coronary bypass usually lasts much longer than a stent, but within bypasses it is true that arterial grafts last longer than venous grafts. This is an advantage especially in young people, who are offered a much more durable surgery than with arterial grafts.
How will the operation and the post-operative period of the coronary Bypass be?
Based on the previous diagnostic tests, an intervention strategy is established and the grafts are obtained, whether from the radial artery, mammary artery, etc. to perform the bypasses, triple, quadruple. The patient is then transferred to an intensive care unit (ICU) where he will normally stay for a couple of days and then to the normal ward, where he will stay for one week and will start walking, eating and recovering.
Then the patient will be able to go out, will be able to walk, will go home and the recovery will take approximately 1 to 2 months until he/she recovers normal activity and can lead a normal life.