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Operating on a Beating Heart Yields Better Results For Blocked Heart Arteries

According to findings of a recent study researchers say bypass surgery on a beating heart might be an effective option for many patients // with blocked heart arteries .

Researchers assigned 400 patients with bypass grafts to undergo either on-pump (work of the heart is shifted to a mechanical pump while heart remains still) or off-pump (the heart is still beating) surgery. Results of the surgeries were evaluated one year later.

Results showed both surgeries were equally effective. Rates of chest artery reblockage were 9 percent for both groups. After 30 days, rates of stroke, heart attack, death, and severe kidney disease were also similar in both groups. Reblockage in leg bypass grafts was 41 percent in the off-pump group and 51 percent in the on-pump group.

Based on findings of the study researchers say surgery on a beating heart is more technically demanding for the surgeon, surgery using a heart-lung machine also carries added risks including an increased chance of stroke, heart attack, and in rare cases, death.

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