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Healthcare: Cardiovascular Medicine

Cardiopulmonary Bypass

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Scott Holmes
Cardiopulmonary bypass.

Coronary artery bypass is surgery to treat coronary artery disease. It helps blood make a detour around, or bypass, one or more coronary arteries that may be narrowed or blocked. These arteries bring blood and oxygen to your heart. The surgery helps restore normal blood flow to the heart.

It can be done with a pump or without a pump. When it's done without a pump, it's called off-pump bypass surgery. Your heart continues to pump blood during the surgery. To work on the arteries, the doctor makes a cut through the breastbone (sternum) or small cuts (incisions) in the chest. Medicine may be used to slow your heart during surgery.

You may stay in the hospital for a few days. You will likely be able to do many of your usual activities after a few weeks.

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The Roller Pump


While still in medical school, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey created the roller pump. Twenty years later, it became a crucial component of the heart-lung machine that paved the way for pioneering open-heart surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and is still used in cardiopulmonary bypass today.