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Why do bypass grafts last for only 15 years?

Q: The grafts done during bypass surgery are reported to last for only about 10-15 years. What are the options for someone who has bypass surgery at a young age? Does he have to undergo the surgery again after 10-15 years?

A:It is not necessary that grafts will last only 10-15 years. It all depends on:

  • What kind of conduits were used for grafting. For example, intermal mammary artery is open in more than 95% of patients at 20 years and arterial grafts in general have much better long term results, as compared to venous grafts.
  • It also depends upon the risk factor control that an individual exhibits.
  • Therefore one should look after one self after bypass surgery and control all the known risk factors and indulge in regular physical exercises and stress relief measures besides control of diabetes, hypertension and total abstinence from smoking. I think, one should have a pragmatic attitude towards life and not get paranoid about blocked arteries; otherwise, one would add another risk factor, that of stress, which makes matters worse. Also, one should undergo regular medical checkups, and at least once a year have a proper executive cardiac check including TMT, echocardiography and extended lipid profile and take necessary remedial actions depending on the results of these tests. More specific answers can only be given after you have consulted your local cardiologist.

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