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Ask the doctor: Can coronary artery grafts break?

January 01, 2007

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.

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