Heart Scars

Published: June 2, 2010

Q: One year after a double bypass, doctors said my heart has scarred shut, and I need another surgery. What caused this problem, and what options exist?

A: Bypass vessels, particularly when veins are used in contrast to arteries, can clog or narrow (note President Bill Clinton’s recent incident), but it usually occurs years after the surgery. Damage to the bypass vessel during surgery sometimes triggers early scarring. In any event, an obstructed bypass vessel can often be propped open with a heart stent, a wire mesh tunnel that is inserted with a catheter, as Clinton had done.

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