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Off-pump heart bypass can be successful

  • November 9, 2009
  • Number of views: 3744
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Posted: Monday, 09 November 2009 6:39AM

POORER OUTCOMES AFTER 'OFF-PUMP' BYPASS SURGERY

Fred Bodimer Reporting
Health & Religion Editor

[email protected]

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -- Proponents of a new form of heart bypass surgery -- called "off pump" -- say it's still a viable form of operation, despite the finding of a new study that suggests otherwise.

It seemed like a great idea -- doing bypass surgery while the heart is still beating, sparing patients the complications that can come from going on a heart-lung machine. But this new study, published in the Nov. 5th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine says one year after surgery, about one in 10 patients getting the off-pump procedure had died, suffered major complications, had heart attacks or required repeat bypasses, compared to 7.4 percent of those who underwent operations using heart-lung machines.

Cardiac Surgeon Dr. Jennifer Lawton at Barnes Jewish Hospital is a proponent of the off pump method and says it works for her patients: 'There's a lower blood transfusion rate with off-pump surgery, and the patients are discharged approximately one day sooner. "The key, she says, is to have a surgeon that has done at least fifty of these in the past. "You should have your surgery done, in a place where they have done a lot of them."

Heart bypass is believed to be the most common surgery in the world -- with one in five done off pump. The study included more than 2,200 adults, almost all of them men, who had bypass surgeries at 18 Veterans Administration medical centers across the country.

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