How long do cardiac bypasses last?


Submitted by Dr T on December 9, 2013 – 10:32am

It’s been 12 year since  my bypass operation, and the arteries were removed from my right leg, what I would  like to know is how long do they last before they need to be  replaced? 

Hi Ed,

Your bypass was done using veins from your leg, not arteries:


How long they last depends on many factors that include whether your coronary artery disease has progressed. Remember a bypass operation is not a cure!

Neither stents nor coronary artery bypass surgery treat atherosclerosis, the disease process that causes coronary artery disease with obstructive blockages. That means you may be developing new obstructions elsewhere, even after a successful intervention.

That said, there is about a 10-15% failure rate of stents to stay open and more than 40% of patients with a stent will need another procedure within a year, despite the use of expensive medications. This is in sharp contrast with a bypass operation that has a >95% success rate.  While stents are more or less successful as treatment of anginal symptoms, they do not protect against future heart attacks or prolong life, again as opposed to bypass surgery.

If you have coronary artery disease, it is important to choose the right treatment that should in all cases include Neither stents nor coronary artery bypass surgery treat atherosclerosis, the disease process that causes coronary artery disease  (diet & exercise) and medications that include cholesterol meds (the only way presently to stop progression of atherosclerosis – a process that will take years). It has been shown that in most patients with stable symptoms, this last option, called “Optimal Medical Therapy”, is actually a better treatment option than Stenting.

Patients with extensive (“3 vessel”) disease that may include a “Left main stenosis”, diminished heart function and/or Diabetes do much better with a bypass operation. In situations where time is of the essence, such as an acute heart attack, a stent is may the best option if the priocedure is performed quickly enough. The same is probably also true for patients with only “one or two” vessel disease, although there are mini bypass operations that offer an equal if not superior treatment because it promises a much better long term protection.

Hope this helps,

Comments 11

  1. Post

    Been very blessed with nearly 30 years of trouble free health issues and at 61 have only just experience angina after all these years.Had quadruple in 93 after heart attack.Hoping someone can say 35 years,as want to enjoy retirement in a few years.

    1. Post

      I also had a CABG X3 back in 1993 and recently had a LEXI. They found something they want to take a better look at, so I’m have my first Cardiac Cath after almost 30 years. I feel blessed to have gone this long without any problems.

  2. Post

    I had mesentery surgery 11years ago. I was given a survival period of ” a good 5 years and possibly as much as 10 years”. I am very fortunate in that I can enjoy whatever time I have left. Feel pretty good but have noticed that my total body functions are slowing down. I walk from one room to another and am panting for for air. Also have Menieres Disease, (no balance ). That has created a problem in getting out for long walks. Have to ride a scooter to get around.

  3. Post

    At 54, RCA was 95% blocked and had a stint put in. One year later to the day, I had quadruple bypass with chest artery and three veins.
    Keloid issue runs in my family, so I have no idea how long the vein grafts will last. But God is in control my friends … and I know with 100% certainty that I’ll be in Heaven w/ Jesus and Father God whenever I physically die (which can be any time, any place and any way God decides to take me home.
    Eating better, active, on cholesterol and BP meds, take fish oil and a baby aspirin daily. Drink two glasses of red wine nightly – do not smoke.
    They can harvest veins from my other leg if I get blocked up again and do not pass from a heart attack before then.
    God bless you all. Fear not – it’s the opposite of faith in Jesus. Repent and believe – He’ll give you eternal life!

  4. Post

    Had a triple 8 yrs ago at age 47. Playing competitive/tournament racquetball vs 30 year olds now. Following doc orders strictly. A beer once a week. Glass of bourbon once a month. That’s it for vices. Hope to follow you all well into my 70’s. Keep going strong.

  5. Post

    5 By-pass –
    My 20 year anniversary coming up next year, still run, hike, ride motorcycles, this has been on my mind also.. How Long? Looking to climb Mt, Rainer next year as my celebration, I’ll be 57.. Bad family genes…

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  8. Post

    It’s been almost 20 years since my triple bypass….I’ll be 67 in april…what’s my odds of seeing 70? I’m fairly active..
    ride motorcycles. .work a part time job.

    Anyone gone 25 years??

    1. Post

      I very good, I have 26 years on a 3 way. Very active, watch diet, 11/2 glasses red wine each day and no smoking. I am 77.

    2. Post

      I will have 25 years this October on my quadruple CABG with BIMA. I am now 78 years old but have struggled with Type 2 DM for 35 years and have developed AFib and Cardiac insufficiency subsequently to the CABG. No one can predict the future but I am guessing maybe 35 years without intervention of the cardiac arteries and maybe advances in the art before then. I just take it a day at a time.

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