My 73 year old mother underwent a quadruple bypass 60 days ago. She is diabetic and has high cholesterol that is being managed with Lipitor.
A stress test from several days ago indicated a blockage in the vein that was used to bypass the circumflex. Her cardiologist in D.C. is recommending an angiogram that will likely lead to an angioplasty and insertion of a stent in this newly placed bypass.
The CABG was very hard, physically and emotionally on my mother and we were all hoping for a greater length of time where she was able to enjoy the benefits of her surgery before another heart event took place.
She is walking every day (one mile) and had recently started a exercise program designed for recovering heart patients.
My question is: what options does she have available (is there a new technique/medication out there)? and what is the risk/benefit ratio of undergoing another angioplasty and having another stent placed here.
Blockages in vein grafts are not uncommon, but it is true that we hope that they will last longer than 60 days. Unfortunately, there are not many other options for treatment of blockages other than medications, stents or surgery. It is unclear from the information provided whether she would benefit more from a stent or from treatment from medications alone without an angiogram. How each suspected blockage is managed is highly individualized to the patient. Angiograms with angioplasty and stenting, however, are generally well tolerated procedures and typically require only an overnight stay. Overall, the risks are very low from the procedure.
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