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Coronary-Artery Bypass Surgery: It Works, but Why?

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Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Baltimore, Maryland

Ann Intern Med. 1978;88(6):835-836. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-88-6-835
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Coronary-artery bypass surgery is overwhelmingly successful in the symptomatic treatment of angina pectoris. Eighty percent to 90% of patients who undergo this procedure experience relief of symptoms and 60% to 70% become pain-free (1). These are indeed dramatic and indisputable results: for most patients, incapacitating angina pectoris is cured by coronary-artery bypass surgery. It works, but why?

The operation is designed to provide a new channel for blood flow around a point of obstruction in a diseased coronary artery; therefore, relief of angina is usually attributed to the new blood supply. Perhaps successful and complete revascularization of the ischemic myocardium


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