Harvard Heart Letter

Bypass plus angioplasty: The best of both worlds?

In hybrid heart surgery, the blocked or narrowed left anterior descending artery is bypassed with the nearby left mammary artery, while another blocked artery (in this case, the right coronary artery) is opened with angioplasty plus a stent.

Illustration by Scott Leighton

Known as hybrid coronary revascularization, this technique may become more widely available in the future.

If fatty plaque narrows the arteries of your heart and threatens its blood supply, restoring the blood flow is crucial. One option is to open the blockages with a tiny balloon (angioplasty), followed by the placement of a stent, a tiny mesh tube that keeps the artery open. Another is to transplant blood vessels from elsewhere in your body to bypass the blockage—the surgery known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

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