Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that deliver blood to your heart. When things like fat, cholesterol and calcium build up in the walls of your arteries, these blood vessels can become narrower or pieces of the build up can break off and block blood flow.
Either of these can reduce the blood flow that reaches your heart. This can lead to chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.
There are multiple ways to prevent or treat coronary heart disease:
- Improving your diet
- Increasing exercise
- Taking aspirin
- Taking medicines such as beta-blockers to reduce blood pressure
- Taking statins to lower cholesterol
- Having angioplasty, the placing of a stent (tube) inside an artery to open up the narrowed area and improve blood flow to the heart.
But for some patients, these options aren't enough. If you have blockages in all or multiple coronary arteries, your heart muscle is not functioning properly, or if you have severe chest pain that medicine can't control, your doctor may recommend a coronary artery bypass graft.
Coronary artery bypass is the most common form of heart surgery in the United States, with more than 420,000 procedures performed each year. During the procedure, a surgeon will use blood vessels from another part of your body to bypass the narrowed arteries in your heart. The purpose of the treatment is to essentially go around the blockage in the coronary artery, returning the proper amount of blood flow to the heart.
- During this procedure, an artery or vein from your chest or leg will be used to connect the aorta to the coronary artery below the narrowed area of blockage.
- The surgery usually lasts anywhere from four to six hours.
- You should plan to spend at least one night in the intensive care unit after the operation and an average of five days in the hospital.
The goal of coronary artery bypass grafting is to:
- Decrease chest pain
- Improve quality of life
- Help you increase your ability to be active
- Prevent future heart attacks
- Restore normal blood flow to the heart
People who undergo the procedure usually have excellent results. It has been shown to reduce symptoms in 85 percent of patients and decrease the risk of future heart attacks and death, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
The professional, caring staff at REX Cardiac Surgical Specialists is here to help ease you safely through your mitral valve repair surgery. People who choose Rex are consistently satisfied with the high-quality care we provide every patient.
When undergoing heart surgery, you want to know that your specialists are not only knowledgeable, but are well versed in the most up-to-date techniques. REX's cardiac surgeons have 25 years of experience each and are constantly working on the latest changes and innovations in the heart care field.
At UNC REX Healthcare, you can trust that you will be taken care of by an entire team of specialists including cardiologists as well as vascular and thoracic surgeons. UNC REX Healthcare provides the perfect combination of compassion, expertise and exceptional clinical outcomes.
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