Health & Science
Triple Bypass Surgery More Common???
by Richard Knox
All Things Considered, September 3, 2004 · About half a million Americans undergo coronary bypass surgery
each year. Vice President Dick Cheney has had the surgery. It's a low risk procedure, with as little as 1 to 2 percent mortality and chances for full recovery. It is done urgently sometimes, as in the case of former President Clinton, when blockages are found. NPR's Richard Knox reports.
If you're undergoing a scheduled operation to bypass a diseased coronary artery, your risk of death is usually low, but still depends on your overall health. The risk is significantly higher if the operation is done as an emergency or if you have other significant medical conditions such as emphysema
, kidney disease, diabetes
or peripheral vascular disease
. Complications — such as arrhythmias, kidney failure, stroke
and infections — also may occur after heart surgery.
Some people experience a decline in memory and other cognitive functions after undergoing coronary bypass surgery. Predictors include older age, high blood pressure
, lung disease and excessive alcohol consumption. Of those people who do lose some cognitive ability, most gradually regain their intellectual abilities within six to 12 months. Bypass surgery doesn't cause dementia, but it may worsen any pre-existing mental decline, including early dementia