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Medical News and Perspectives
April 21, 2004

Beat Goes On in "Off-Pump" Bypass Surgery

JAMA. 2004;291(15):1821-1822. doi:10.1001/jama.291.15.1821

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), aided by a heart-lung machine to pump blood while the heart is temporarily immobilized, is one of the great medical advances of the 20th century. But some researchers are saying bypass surgery without such mechanical assistance may be even better in terms of reduced morbidity and cost.

The heart-lung machine, which provides the cardiac surgeon with a stable and bloodless environment in which to operate, is currently used for about 77% of all heart bypass cases. But there is morbidity associated with "on-pump" CABG, including heart damage, stroke, and wound infection.

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