Medical Marvels – Coronary Heart Bypass

By Sam Peace

Modern day health care has evolved at a phenomenal rate over the past hundred years. New technology and a greater knowledge of what can be done with the human body have helped create some major success stories; stories which sound like miracles. These days however, what used to be seen as quite miraculous has now just become a “common practice” or a “standard operation”. One such surgical procedure is the Coronary Heart Bypass (CHB) surgery.

As the name suggests the CHB surgery is focused on the heart and the flow of the blood. Coronary is the name given to the arteries which directly feed into the heart. The term bypass is used in its literal sense which is to ‘avoid’ or to ‘go around’. A build up in the arteries of a fatty substance called Atheroma is the reason a CHB is needed. If left untreated then the build up could eventually lead to full blockages and blood clots, which in turn can often cause fatal heart attacks and strokes. The CHB surgery is an option which will create a diversion for the blood flow enabling it to avoid the blockage altogether, and to reach the heart without any problems.

Ray Peace a 76 year old man from Bognor Regis recently underwent a quadruple CHB. He had a vein which was the length between his groin and his ankle taken out of his leg in order to create the four new routes needed. However, despite having this high risk and complex operation he was walking again two days later. He was then discharged from hospital only seven days after he had the surgery. Six weeks have passed since the operation and he is nearly fully active again. He has daily exercises, takes regular walks, and has checkups once a week. He has also started driving again and he plans to restart his daily swimming routine around Christmas time.

He said “I’m pretty much back to normal now. The experience was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be, and I didn’t feel too much pain afterwards. In fact the only pain I have now is in my leg where they took out the vein. I usually take painkillers before bed, but the past few days I haven’t”. He went on to say: “My last check up is at the end of November, so hopefully I can start swimming again after that. It all depends on my blood pressure and how my chest muscles are.”

Although the CHB procedure is very dangerous, the survival rate in the UK as of 2009 is as high as 98%. Even if it’s not classed as miraculous, it’s still pretty impressive.

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