Artery reattachment after Cardiac Bypass surgery

Hi all,

I’m not sure why I’m asking this on CD but I was wondering if anyone knew how they reattached arteries and veins together after cardiac bypass surgeries.

It would seem like stitches would fail. I’m not sure where this came from but it’s bugging me. :stuck_out_tongue:

thanks in advance, Vivek


I am a biomedical engineering student at Stony Brook University. Absorbable sutures (stitches) are usually used to reattach blood vessels after cardiac bypass surgery. These sutures are made from strong synthetic materials and typically degrade in 60 to 90 days.

A newer procedure uses a expandable metal clip to connect the coronary artery to the bypass vessel. This allows for shorter recovery times and the ability to perform surgery on a beating heart.



With the kinds of pressures that the blood is at coming out of the heart, wouldn’t there be leakage? Do they use a piece of felt or something to keep it from leaking? I’ve seen that done on surgeries on people with heart gigantism.

thanks, Vivek

Out of curiousity, what made you think of this? I’d like to know how your train of thought came to this particular thing.

well, I’m in anatomy and we were watching a video about heart bypass surgery where they have a machine that pumps and oxygenates the blood so the doctors can operate on the heart. We also talked about how the pressure in the heart is so great, if there was a hole in the chest, it would spurt blood across the room (we have the weirdest class ever :)). I’ve had normal stitches before and I’ve also disscected a cat (in said anatomy class). Those arteries are not easy to grasp and must be even worse to reattach with stitches.

I guess I was just wondering if they used stitches (since it seems like they would make tears in the vessel wall due to the enormous pressure). It has to be incredibly careful work to reattach those blood vessels.


Oh, I guess that makes sense. That sounds like an interesting class.

It is very interesting. How hard is it to stitch something that small?


Now you’re starting to understand why cardiac surgeons are paid so highly - supply is low and demand is high. Also you can understand why it took so long in medical history to even be able to do that. When I was a kid, if you had a heart attack, you died, there were no other options - attempting open heart surgery would have been murder (literally).

It is awful hard to suture up an artery, you need lots of very tiny, very accurate stitches. And you can’t just goober on some caulking…

My first reaction was to get something like one of those pneumatic fittings that pushes inside the tubing to connect. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to make stitches that small.