On-pump and off-pump bypass surgery yield same results, reports the Harvard Heart Letter

Off-pump bypass surgery, or "beating heart surgery," was developed in hopes of creating a safer way to fix cholesterol-clogged coronary arteries. But a major new study suggests that off-pump bypass surgery doesn't quite measure up to the traditional operation, in which the heart is stopped during the procedure and a heart-lung machine pumps blood through the body, reports the February 2010 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.

Early reports about off-pump bypass surgery indicated that the operation caused less confusion and memory loss afterward, problems that were attributed to the use of the heart-lung machine. Some later, larger, and longer studies supported these findings, while others didn't. Now, results from a large head-to-head comparison trial are bringing some clarity to the hot debate over which procedure is better.

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