Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Can coronary artery grafts break?

Ask the doctor

Can coronary artery grafts break?

Q. Before my triple bypass operation, I was an avid devotee of spinning. I loved the cardiac workout I got from this vigorous cycling program. After going through 10 weeks of cardiac rehabilitation, I slowly returned to my spinning routine. I now spin two to three times a week, and my doctor tells me to keep it up. Sometimes, though, I worry that the grafted blood vessels will "let go" during this intense exercise. Am I worrying needlessly?

A. If you had started spinning the day after your bypass operation, then one of your grafts could have pulled loose. This is a pretty rare problem, though. Stitches firmly hold the grafts in place. As they heal, the joined tissues grow together. Within a few weeks, the grafts are as strong as any other part of your body, maybe even stronger. So spin to your heart's content and stop worrying about those grafts "" what you are doing is good for them, not bad.

"" Richard Lee, M.D.Associate Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

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