“Heart Bypass Surgery Limitations”

Some patients may have placed a little false hope in long-term heart bypass surgery. In 2010, experts found, “The bypass operation did not improve survival for heart failure patients who already were taking medicines to control risks like high cholesterol and high blood pressure.” Doctors assumed bypass would cut deaths by 25 percent. But after nearly five years, the study of 1,200 heart failure patients showed that about the same number in each group had died. Actually, for the first two years, there were more deaths among those given surgery versus the others. In addition to the new knowledge about a “special period of attention” 8–10 years after the bypass surgery, the first month is particularly critical. Within the first 30 days after bypass surgery, patients have an increased risk of dying in connection with the operation, which is not in itself new. The survival rate for bypass patients who make it through the first month after the operation is close to that of the population in general. But, 8–10 years after a heart bypass operation, mortality increases by 60–80 percent. This is new and important knowledge for the doctors who monitor these patients. This is the main conclusion in 2017 of a comprehensive national register-based study that sheds light on the thirty–year prognosis following a heart bypass operation, on 51,000 Danish patients who had undergone surgery in the period 1980 – 2009.

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