No clear winner in traditional vs. off-pump bypass surgery

A panel of experts commissioned by the American Heart Association says that on-pump and off-pump bypass surgery are equivalent, though each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Fifty years ago, fixing a narrowed or blocked coronary artery was part science fiction and part fantasy. Today, such repairs are almost run-of-the-mill, giving second chances to a million or so hearts a year in the United States alone.

The first "fix" was coronary artery bypass surgery, a major operation to reroute blood around blocked vessels. Then came angioplasty, which opens an artery with a tiny balloon that flattens the cholesterol-filled bulges that block blood flow. Each has been modified and improved, making for a multitude of choices.

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