Heart Disease Expert Forum
25 percent of heart funtioning
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25 percent of heart funtioning

My father in law is in his 70's he has a lot of health problems, one being his heart. The doctors told him he needed a triple bypass. Then a few days after looking deeper into the test relusly (i assume) they told him to go home as there was no way to do the surgery as the part of his heart that needed the bypass was **dead** there was no way to do the operation.  I am not sure I understand why or how this means he should be home.  How can you live with such a tiny part of your heart working.

His other issues are... 2 blood clots in his lungs. he is fighting a bad foot infection which as plagued him for years. He has an on and off very rapid heart beat. very swollen legs.
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello.  it sounds like your father is quite ill with multiple medical issues. Let me explain the heart part a little bit more --- he has been diagnosed with severe coronary artery disease, and to improve the blood flow to his heart, he would need a coronary bypass (CABG).  The "triple" part might mean that he has three areas of severe blockages, or there might be a single area of severe or total blockage, and two other area with SIGNIFICANT but not SEVERE blockages.  Either way, it would be a relatively big operation for someone who might not be the healthiest to start with.

Regarding the "25% heart function" part -- this is a common area of confusion because you might not be aware of the fact that NORMAL heart function is 50 to 65% ejection fraction (EF).  So I take the doctors' comment to mean that his EF is 25%, which is a moderate to severe decrease but you should look at it as "glass half full" since the EF is about HALF of normal.  Now, the reason surgery is no longer planned might be that his doctors have determined that his heart has large area of SCAR due to the blockages, rather than LIVE but weakened muscle.  There would be no benefit to restore blood supply to SCAR and we typically recommend medical management IF he is feeling NO chest pain.

It sounds like his other medical issues might also give the doctors pause in being more aggressive with surgery, etc.  This might well be reasonable; however, you and your family are always entitled to a second opinion, so you might consider going to a major medical center for consultation.  The end result might be the same but at least you could have peace of mind that you did everything to help your father in law.  Good Luck.
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