Conduits Used for Bypass

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Conduits Used for Bypass


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The choice of conduits is highly surgeon and institution dependent. Typically, the left internal thoracic artery (LITA) (previously referred to as left internal mammary artery or LIMA) is grafted to the Left Anterior Descending artery and a combination of other arteries and veins is used for other coronary arteries. The right internal thoracic artery (RITA), the great saphenous vein from the leg and the radial artery from the forearm are frequently used. The right gastroepiploic artery from the stomach is infrequently used given the difficult mobilization from the abdomen.

Graft patency

Grafts can become diseased and may occlude in the months to years after bypass surgery is performed. Patency is a term used to describe the chance that a graft remain open. A graft is considered patent if there is flow through the graft without any significant (>70% diameter) stenosis in the graft.

Graft patency is dependent on a number of factors, including the type of graft used (internal thoracic artery, radial artery, or great saphenous vein), the size or the coronary artery that the graft is anastomosed with, and, of course, the skill of the surgeon(s) performing the procedure. Arterial grafts (e.g. LITA, radial) are far more sensitive to rough handling than the saphenous veins and may go into spasm if handled improperly.

Generally the best patency rates are achieved with the in-situ (the proximal end is left connected to the subclavian artery) left internal thoracic artery with the distal end being anastomosed with the coronary artery (typically the left anterior descending artery or a diagonal branch artery). Lesser patency rates can be expected with radial artery grafts and "free" internal thoracic artery grafts (where the proximal end of the thoracic artery is excised from its origin from the subclavian artery and re-anastomosed with the ascending aorta). Saphenous vein grafts have worse patency rates, but are more available, as the patients can have multiple segments of the saphenous vein used to bypass different arteries.

Veins that are used either have their valves removed or are turned around so that the valves in them do not occlude blood flow in the graft. LITA grafts are longer-lasting than vein grafts, both because the artery is more robust than a vein and because, being already connected to the arterial tree, the LITA need only be grafted at one end. The LITA is usually grafted to the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) because of its superior long-term patency when compared to saphenous vein grafts.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
Coronary artery bypass surgery is an effective treatment for angina, and narrowing of the arteries. It may be recommended following a heart attack. This article details the operation and follow-up care.

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