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Does bypass surgery affect brain function?

Q: My father is 67 years old. He had an attack 3 months back when he had slight pain in his chest. Recently, when he underwent a coronary angiogram, the results showed that he has 3 significant blocks of 80%, 70% and 80%. The doctors have asked him to undergo a bypass surgery. I would like to know if my father could undergo a bypass at the age of 67? Will he be fit enough? I read an article that a bypass surgery may affect brain function. Is this true?

A:The answers to your queries are: 1. Most bypass surgeries are performed in the 6th and 7th decade of life and therefore it is quite normal for a person at the age of 67 to under go a bypass surgery. 2. Will he be fit enough is a question, which only your treating doctor can answer. I have not seen your father so I cannot give an answer to this question? If you want us to give an opinion, then you will have to contact me at the National Heart Institute in New Delhi. 3. Certainly, brain functions can be affected by any surgery and more so by bypass surgery which is a major operation. However, now days we perform bypass surgery by the beating heart technique that is without the use of heart lung machine and therefore neuro-cognitive dysfunction (brain dysfunction) is much less in bypass surgery than what it used to be earlier. Theoretically, however, it is possible to have a major stroke in 0.5 to 1% of patients during bypass surgery. However, screening of the carotid arteries is usually performed before bypass surgery and if a patient doesn't have any symptoms suggestive of neurological disorder and the carotid arteries are clean, then the chances of brain getting affected during bypass surgery are relatively less.

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