There are three treatment options available for Coronary Artery Disease. There’s medication, which is the easiest and most cost-effective treatment, and then there are stenting and bypass surgery. Stents and Bypass Surgery are recommended only in very specific situations.
In those cases, the patient is often recommended one over the other. So, what are the pros and cons of Bypass Surgery vs Stenting? Is one better than the other? Which is more dangerous? What do both operations entail? Continue reading if you want to learn more.
The first one up for debate is Bypass Surgery, otherwise called Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG.) Much like with most treatments related to Coronary Artery Disease, bypass surgery is not a cure. In the early days, the operation was even deemed too risky for certain patients.
At the time, the surgery was only recommended for patients who were suffering from severe chest pain or angina. However, after years of study, it’s been proven that CABG actually improves the survival rate of those with coronary artery disease.
Overall, it’s a very complex and invasive surgery. Major complications have been ruled out over time, it’s no longer as dangerous as it used to be, but there are definitely post-operation side-effects that patients should be mindful of. At average, recovering from a CABG surgery could take up to 4 to 6 months (or over a year if the patient undergoes the traditional form of bypass surgery.)
Now, how about stenting? Well, unlike a CABG, stenting requires no surgery. In fact, it’s much less invasive in comparison. In this case, a small metal or plastic tube is used in order to act as a support to the blocked arteries, allowing blood to more easily pass through.
It’s the solution that is most recommended, especially for patients that are nearing the critical level of blockage. There is no doubt that the process of stenting goes much faster and is considered safer than bypass surgery. However, much like the latter, it is not meant as a cure — only as a way of preventing the progression of the disease.
The process is reported to be most effective for patients who are afflicted with only one blockage. If there are several, then bypass surgery is seen to have more success. This is also the case with patients who are chronic smokers, diabetic, or are suffering from heart failure.
In the end, there is much to consider about which is better for a certain patient. And, a lot of the decision is based on unique conditions represented by said patient. How old are they? Are they Diabetic? How often do they smoke, if at all? Do they have any history of kidney disease?
The answer to these questions will be consolidated by the doctor at hand, and he or she will recommend a solution as to what is best for them. Because, in the end, there are pros and cons of both solutions.
- “Heart Bypass Surgery Brings Long-Term Benefits.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12 July 2016, www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/heart-bypass-surgery-brings-long-term-benefits.
- “Stents.” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/stents.