Triple Bypass Surgery

What is Triple Bypass Surgery?

Triple Bypass Surgery is performed to improve the circulation within the heart by deflecting blood flow from a blocked artery. The procedure involves taking a healthy, unblocked blood vessel from the chest, abdomen, leg or arm and circumventing three arteries in the heart to connect it to other arteries. If successful, blood flow to the heart will be normalized and often the symptoms experienced by the patient including shortness of breath and/or chest pain will cease. The surgery can help minimize a patient’s risk of having a heart attack and in combination with a healthy lifestyle can increase life expectancy. The number represents the number of arteries that are being bypassed.

When is Triple Bypass Surgery performed?

Triple bypass surgery is performed if:

  • A patient has severe chest pain that results from the constriction of arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood. Typically a patient may experience persistent chest pain while doing light exercises or when lying flat on the back.
  • If the patient does not respond to other treatment methods like angioplasty or stenting then triple bypass surgery may have to be performed.
  • If a patient has more than one affected artery with imminent left ventricle (the primary pump) failure.
  • A patient is diagnosed with a blocked left main coronary artery. This particular artery is responsible for supplying blood to the left ventricle.
  • A patient is having a heart attack and is not responding successfully to any other available treatments.

What to expect before and after triple bypass surgery?

Before going into surgery, certain instructions and recommendations should be followed carefully. These will include modifications to the diet and limiting present activity levels if the patient leads an active lifestyle. In addition a number of tests will be performed prior to surgery, most likely, a chest x-ray, coronary angiogram, electrocardiogram and blood tests. You will be admitted to the hospital on the day of surgery, although depending on your condition you may be admitted before this time.

The surgery will take anywhere between three to six hours to be completed. You will be placed under general anesthesia for the duration of this period. A breathing tube will be placed in the mouth which will assist breathing throughout the procedure. At this point speech will be impaired, however one may still be able to communicate in writing or with hand movements. The tube will be removed once one is able to breathe on your own after surgery.

Immediately after surgery you will be required to spend as much as two days in intensive care where you will be monitored for blood pressure changes, heart function and breathing rate. Once there are no complications, you will be released within a week. Full recovery can be expected within six to 12 weeks.

What are the risks associated with triple bypass surgery?

Complications may arise from this type of surgery. A few complications include:

  • Bleeding
  • Heart Arrhythmias
  • Heart Attack
  • Infections
  • Memory loss
  • Stroke
  • Kidney Failure

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