There’s a lot of discussion over the benefits of Angioplasty vs. Bypass Surgery. Both are known treatment solutions to Coronary Artery Disease and are done for the purposes of creating or supporting passageways for blood to pass through unimpeded into the heart vessels, but which of the two is the right procedure for you?
There are pros and cons to both procedures, as well as pitfalls that might make one or the other the inevitable choice. That being said, both treatment solutions do have the benefit of preventing the progression of Coronary Artery Disease and reducing the risk of complications related to the condition.
Angioplasty is considered significantly less invasive than bypass surgery. There’s also less risk for complications involved during or after the procedure, which involves the use of balloon-catheters, x-ray machines, and stents for the purpose of expanding narrowed blood vessels to allow blood to pass through easily.
It’s a great treatment solution for those that are looking for something that will ease the symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease and reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes. However, there are situations where the procedure is not viable.
For example, this treatment is not often recommended to those that are suffering from multiple blocked arteries. It’s also not recommended for people who are over the age of 65, people who were born with abnormalities in the blood vessels closest to their heart muscles, and people who are diabetic.
Bypass Surgery, in comparison, is not only far more invasive but is also more likely to result in complications during and after the surgery. It’s a very complex operation, and it only gets more complex the more blocked off blood vessels a person has.
However, it is this complexity that makes it practical for treating patients who are experiencing more severe versions of the condition. It also doesn’t depend on expanding already damaged blood vessels, which are at a danger of becoming blocked off once more.
Of course, a lot of preparation is also required for it to be performed, with the surgery planned for weeks beforehand in order to ensure the least possible risk (although there are certain occasions where the surgery is performed during an emergency.) A long recovery period is also required — one that might last for up to six months (or up to a year.)
With around 20-30% of people experiencing irregular heart rhythms (Atrial Fibrillation), infection, brain-related problems, reduced kidney functions, heart attacks, and the known mortality rate sitting at around 2-3%, it’s hard to imagine why some would choose bypass surgery over angioplasty.
However, there is no denying it’s able to prolong a person’s life – by decades even!
Conclusion: Angioplasty vs. Bypass Surgery
There are different advantages and disadvantages to both procedures, and whether angioplasty vs. bypass surgery is the one for you will depend on your current condition and very specific factors that might make one more practical than the other.
If you’d like to be certain, you should discuss your options with your cardiologist or cardiac surgeon. They’ll know which procedure will be right for you.
- “Coronary Angioplasty for Elderly Patients With ‘High Risk’ Unstable Angina: Short-Term Outcomes and Long-Term Survival.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Elsevier, 24 May 2000, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109796004950.
- Hawkes, Anna Louise, et al. “Outcomes of Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery.” Vascular Health and Risk Management, Dove Medical Press, 2006, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1994021/.