Your guide to coronary bypass surgery 

Do you have bypass surgery coming up? Watch this video to find out what to expect.

What is a coronary artery bypass?

Transcript of Your guide to coronary bypass surgery

BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION THE ROAD AHEAD: YOUR GUIDETO CORONARY BYPASS SURGERY This film will show you what to expect if you are havingcoronary bypass surgery. It includes images ofthe surgery in progress and shows a live beating heart. DAVE, 55BUILDER My name is Dave Burrell. I'm 55 yearsold and I'm from Northampton. The pains I was gettingin my chest were... I thought it was indigestion. And one dayit wasn't indigestion no more, it was a heart attack. I hope I'm strong and well enoughto do my job that I like. - I just want a peaceful life.- Good to see you again. - How are you, sir?- I'm fine. My name is David Taggart,I'm a consultant cardiac surgeon in the John Radcliffe Hospitalin Oxford, and also professor of cardiovascularsurgery at the University of Oxford. The patient we're operating on todayhas severe coronary artery disease and he will have a lot to gainby coronary artery bypass grafting. (narrator) The coronary arteriessupply your heart with blood. When you have coronary heart disease, fatty deposits build up onthe inner walls of your arteries, causing narrowing or blockageswhich restrict blood flow. In coronary bypass surgery, arteries or veins from elsewherein your body are taken and grafted on to the coronaryartery past the narrowed area. This means the blood can bypass,or get around, the narrowed sections so blood flow to your heartis improved. (David) So the operation in total lastssomewhere from two to three hours. They will have general anaesthesia which clearly laststhroughout the operation and for about eight to ten hoursinto the intensive care unit. One has to accept that it's a majoroperation and it does have risks. However,the benefits for the patients are, it improves their symptoms, but even more importantly,it extends their duration of life. The operation startsby us opening the chest. We divide it in two. Most patients needthree bypass grafts. So we have to obtain blood vesselsfrom other parts of the body to do those bypass grafts. The second stage of the procedure is to connect the patientto the bypass machine. And that machine providesan artificial circulation which allows us to stop the heart so that we can sew onthe bypass grafts very accurately. So, another way of doing the operation is to do it without usinga bypass machine and that has advantages incertain categories of patients where the bypass machinecan cause problems. At the completion ofsewing on the bypass grafts, we then eventually disconnectthe patient from the bypass machine and the heart takesits own function again. We then close the chest and we do thisusing stainless steel wires. Once these secure the chest together,they stay in the patient forever. One thing that often concerns patientsis whether they're likely to cause alarms at airports or in shops,and the answer is they do not. From our point of view today,everything has gone very well indeed. We would now expecta fairly straightforward recovery. At the end of the operation, they stayin intensive care for around 24 hours. They then go back to the general ward and most patients needsomewhere from five to seven days to recover from a bypass operation. We do advise patients not to drivefor about six weeks after the operation and that is becausethe pain from the chest can inhibit them moving their neckfreely so it makes driving dangerous. - First time you've seen it?- It is the first time I've seen it. It should heal up nicely. For the majority of patients, it takes somewhere around six to eightweeks to get really back on their feet before they begin to getthe benefits of the operation. It's day six of my hospital experience.I've had my operation now. Still a bit short of breath but I'm surethat will come back soon enough. And I feel quite fit. I just took life as it wasday after day. It is definitely life-changing. People should learn more abouttheir body and not just ignore it. It all has gone very well indeed.No problems or complications? - No.- Great. We do advise patientsto join rehabilitation classes because there is good evidence that thishelps the patient over the longer term. (Dave) I need to be more positivein the way I treat life and just get on with itthe best way I can. I'll be back. (laughs) (narrator) Heart disease is stillthe single biggest killer in the UK. But for over 50 years,we've tirelessly pioneered research that has helped transform the lives of people with heartand circulatory conditions. Join our fight forevery heartbeat in the UK. Every pound raised,every minute of your time and every donation to our shopswill help make a difference. BHF THANKS THE JOHN RADCLIFFEHOSPITAL FOR HELP WITH THIS FILM FIGHT FOR EVERY BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION


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Having an operation

If your GP has suggested you may need surgery, this guide is for you