During bypass surgery, specialists operating upon the patient, make the heart stop and put the patient on a heart lung machine. In the meantime, doctors repair the clogged arteries.
Fear of mental decline in the elderly after the use of the heart lung machine is baseless and it is absolutely safe to use, two important studies have shown.
Doctor prefers to stop the heart as this makes it easier for them to connect new blood vessels to make detours around blocked ones. But, some patients say that during the hours that they are on the heart lung machine, there is a possibility of mental decline due to the way heart-lung machines pump blood when their hearts were stopped.
To understand which method is best and safe, Dr. Andre Lamy of Canada's McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, conducted a study of 4,752 people in 19 countries. During the study, they were randomly assigned to have bypasses some with the use of heart pumps and some without.
After a year, the study found no significant difference in the rates of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure or death. Mental alertness and quality of life also was the same among the two groups.
A follow up procedure was required by more number of people who underwent bypasses without a heart-lung machine to open clogged arteries but the difference was so negligible, it could just be by chance alone.
"I'm actually somewhat surprised" the methods proved equally good because the operation is so much harder to do on beating hearts, he said. "It seems pretty conclusive" that either way is fine.