Dan’s physician reviews his history of hypercholesterolemia, the analysis of his blood work from the laboratory, his EKG and his angiography test results. He confirms that Dan has suffered damage to his cardiovascular system from a heart attack caused by coronary heart disease (CHD), as a result of atherosclerosis. CHD is the most common cause of a heart attack.
Even though Dan’s wife, Betsy, found him quickly and called 911, provided an aspirin to help thin his blood and the hospital administered a tPA medication within a short time frame, the damage to Dan’s heart was too significant. In some cases, a less invasive angioplasty is a good treatment option, but in Dan’s case he is immediately taken to surgery where a cardiothoracic surgeon performs a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). Considered an open heart surgery, the surgeon will make a 6 – 8 inch incision in Dan’s chest, cut through his sternum to access his heart and then graft a new blood vessel to reroute blood flow through the healthy vessel.
Watch the animation below to learn more about a coronary artery bypass graft.