What Is Triple-Bypass Surgery?


Quick Answer

Triple-bypass surgery is a procedure performed to improve blood flow to the heart, according to Jennifer Heisler, RN, a contributor to About.com. During this procedure, a surgeon takes blood vessels from another part of the body and grafts them on to the blocked vessels in the heart. Someone who has a triple bypass receives three grafts.

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What Is Triple-Bypass Surgery?
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Full Answer

As explained by the Mayo Clinic, a bypass surgery typically takes anywhere from three to six hours. After the patient is anesthetized, the surgeon makes a long incision in the chest. While the heart is being operated on, the patient's blood is diverted to a special pump that removes carbon dioxide from the blood and adds oxygen. The machine then pumps the oxygenated blood to other parts of the body, according to the University of Southern California Department of Cardiac Surgery.

The surgeon then grafts a vessel from the leg or the chest wall. The ends of the healthy vessel are attached above and below the blockage in the blocked vessel. This diverts blood flow around the blocked artery, according to the Mayo Clinic. In some cases, the surgeon uses a minimally invasive approach to triple-bypass surgery. During this type of bypass procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in the chest and uses video imaging or robotic tools to perform the grafts.

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