Ask the doctor: How long will my bypass grafts last?

Ask the doctor

How long will my bypass grafts last?

Q. Three years ago I had coronary bypass surgery. How long will my grafts last?

A. It depends on where your grafts came from. The most common sources are leg veins (the saphenous vein), arteries that supply the chest (the internal mammary artery), and arteries from the arm (the radial artery). Grafts made from leg veins tend to become blocked by cholesterol-filled plaque and blood clots over time, so that half or more close up within 10 years. Grafts made from internal mammary arteries resist such blockages, and most stay open for 20 years or more. Grafts made from radial arteries fall somewhere in between.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »