What risks are involved in bypass surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, coronary bypass surgery involves some risks. Moreover, as coronary bypass surgery is an open heart procedure performed under general anesthesia and in most cases involves stopping the heart during the operation; bypass surgery would carry few risks.

However, recent decades have witnessed a steep drop in serious complications, and more than 95% of patients undergoing coronary bypass surgery do not develop serious complications and the risk of fatality after the procedure is only 1-2%.

The risk of developing serious complications is more in emergency coronary bypass surgical procedures, for instance, in patients who had a heart attack. Additionally, patients over 70 years of age, patients with other conditions such as diabetes, kidney or lung disease, and peripheral vascular disease are at a higher risk. Though relatively rare, certain risks are involved in bypass surgery, these include:

  • Risk of bleeding from the site of graft attachment
  • Infection at the incision site on the chest
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
  • Blood clot formation
  • Heart attack, if a blood clot breaks down after surgery
  • Kidney failure
  • Memory loss or trouble in thinking often improves within six months
  • Post-pericardiotomy syndrome: The symptoms include chest pain and fever. Generally, this condition occurs in about 30% of patients within a few days to six months after bypass surgery.
  • Anesthesia reactions: These may include difficulty in breathing.
Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/

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