Quadruple Bypass Surgery
When an artery to the heart muscle becomes significantly blocked (coronary artery disease), surgeons will create a new passage to bypass the blockage. This procedure is called coronary artery bypass graft (CABG - often pronounced cabbage). When four arteries are affected and require a bypass, the procedure is called quadruple bypass surgery.
The new passage is made from a substitute blood vessel (graft) taken from another part of the body such as the leg, arm, chest, or abdomen. One end of the graft is sutured to the aorta (the main artery responsible for carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body) and the other end is sutured to the coronary artery below the occlusion.
Surgeons have been performing bypass surgery since the 1960s and roughly 500,000 are performed each year in the United States. Quadruple bypass surgery survival rate is good and has prolonged the lives of many people.
After the Surgery
Bypass surgery is a major procedure despite the number of bypasses. According to Prediman K. Shah, M.D. (Director of the Division of Cardiology and the Atherosclerosis Research Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles), a person who has more than one bypass is not necessarily at higher risk than a person who has just one.
After an uncomplicated surgery, the person will normally spend 1-2 days in an intensive care unit to be closely monitored and about another 3-5 days in a nursing unit. Once home, the person will slowly progress and be fully functional in about 6-8 weeks. Some people can take months to recover.
Quadruple Bypass Surgery Survival Rate
Many people who have quadruple bypass surgery survive and go on to live long and healthy lives. Old age, having other health problems (such as diabetes, kidney disease, or emphysema), and significant damage to the heart are some factors that can increase ones risk of having complications. Those without risks have about a 98 to 99 percent chance of surviving the procedure.
Bypass surgery relieves symptoms, decreases the workload of the heart, and increases oxygen supply to the heart but it does not cure the problem (coronary artery disease). Because of this, it is basically up to the person on how long they can live after the surgery. The following can help prevent future bypasses, prolong life, and improve one’s quality of life:
• Eating a healthy diet. The diet should be high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and foods high in omega-3. Red meat, processed foods, saturated fats, simple sugars, and salt should be limited. Trans fatty acids (including hydrogenated oils) should be avoided. This will help maintain normal cholesterol/triglyceride levels and help maintain a healthy weight.
• Not smoking and limiting alcoholic beverages (one drink a day for females and two drinks a day for males).
• Exercising regularly.
• Controlling blood pressure and managing diabetes.
Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (NLM).