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Posted by Kate on September 14, 2000 at 12:04:41:

In Reply to: Re: coronary bypass surgery in diabetes posted by Ken on September 13, 2000 at 01:25:37:

: : Hi, I have an uncle who is to undergo coronary bypass surgery next month. He has been Type 1 diabetic most of his life. His wife is really worried because he is so susceptible to infections. She is particularly worried in case they take a length of vein from the leg to do the bypass. She would rather they not make more incisions than absolutely necessary. I have heard that they can also take an artery from inside the chest -- no additional incisions. Has anyone had this experience? Also, can they use artificial material instead?
: : Thanks in advance,
: : Kate

: Dear Kate:

: I am Type II (Type 2) diabetic, and I had a quadruple bypass in 1992 which was many years after I was diagnosed with diabetes.

: I now do voluntary heart support work through an organization named The Mended Hearts which is affiliated with The American Heart Assn. Because of my position in my chapter and this organization, I associate with heart surgeons, cardiologists and other medical professionals in the area of heart disease. I also see many heart patients who are diabetic.

: Diabetes, both types, is a risk factor for heart disease. Many diabetics have bypass surgery, and medical professionals in this area are well equipped to deal with any complications that might arise from a person being diabetic. However, many advances have been made since I had my surgery in 1992.

: The first selection for heart bypass is the mammery artery, one or both. Since your uncle is diabetic, they will only take one (1) mammery artery rather than both. The reason for this is that one of the mammery arteries is easy to use for heart bypass while the other requires more cutting and is a real risk to someone who is diabetic. The next choice is an artery usually in the left arm if you are right-handed. The 3rd choice is the saphenous vein located on the inside of the left leg. Nowdays, if they need to use the saphenous vein, they do what is called minimumly invasive vein harvet (MIVH) where they usually make 2 small incision in the upper inside part of the left leg. The state-of-the-art is MIVH and not a full length leg incision which was the type I had.

: I survived bypass surgery and the odds are extremely high that your uncle will also.

: If your uncle and/or his wife have any questions or concerns, I am sure the heart surgeon will be happy to discuss them with your uncle and/or his wife. At least the heart surgeons I work with are happy to do so. One of the reasons is that a positive mental attitude is important for anyone undergoing any type of surgery.

: If you, your uncle or his wife have any questions or concerns I can help you with, please feel free to contact me by E-mail at [email protected]

: Ken

Thank you very much Ken!! It was really encouraging to hear from someone who has had a "good" experience with this type of surgery. I'll pass the info on to my uncle and aunt.

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