Treating aortic valve stenosis and coronary artery disease

If you have symptoms of severe aortic valve stenosis and you need surgery to replace the valve, you will approach your treatment for coronary artery disease (CAD) from a different standpoint. Because valve replacement involves open-heart surgery, most doctors recommend that you treat CAD during the same operation. View a slideshow on aortic valve replacement surgery. The surgical treatment for CAD is called coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG, pronounced "cabbage").

CABG surgery involves taking either a vein from your leg or an artery from your chest or arm and grafting it onto your coronary artery. Blood flow is then redirected through the grafted vein or artery, which is not blocked with plaque. CABG surgery is usually necessary when the plaque in your arteries severely limits the flow of blood to your heart.

What is the advantage of adding CABG to valve replacement surgery?

There is always risk associated with placing someone under anesthesia, opening the chest, and operating on the heart. While having a CABG along with your valve replacement surgery will increase the risk of surgery by increasing the amount of time that blood flow to your heart is stopped, the combined risk is much lower than having two separate surgeries or not treating your CAD.

Having both surgeries at once will benefit your heart by improving your heart's ability to pump blood and improving blood flow to the heart muscle.

Last Updated: November 4, 2009

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