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Preventing Heart Attack and Stroke After Open Heart Surgery

CardioSmart News

Open heart surgery doesn’t mean the end of preventive therapies, according to a statement recently released by the American Heart Association about the importance of reducing cardiovascular risk in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Coronary artery bypass graft surgery is the most common type of open-heart surgery in the United States and has been used to treat coronary heart disease for the last 50 years. Each year, nearly 400,000 CABG surgeries are performed. This treatment has helped millions of Americans affected by heart disease live longer, healthier lives. However, as experts from the American Heart Association explain in their recent statement “Secondary Prevention After Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery”, this surgery isn’t the end of treatment. In many ways, it’s just the beginning.

Although CABG helps treat heart disease by opening up narrowed or blocked arteries, surgery increases risk of complications in the months and years following surgery. Also, since CABG isn’t a cure for heart disease, patients must work with their care team to prevent their condition from worsening and to reduce risk for cardiac events like heart attack and stroke.

As the American Heart Association explains, key therapies following a CABG include blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering medications to reduce risk of complications. Experts also encourage aggressive management of risk factors for heart disease, like diabetes, high blood pressure and overweight or obesity.

After reviewing the latest evidence, authors believe that taking steps to prevent complications and address risk factors can go a long way in improving outcomes after open-heart surgery. Experts also encourage future research on the topic, particularly in areas where information is lacking, including mental health.

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