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I apparently have arteries growing around a blockage. What does that mean?

I just had open heart surgery last May 2013, a 4-way bypass. Went to doctor last month for a chemical stress test and found out one of the arteries was clogged. They said it was a SMALL one and that other arteries are growing around it. What does that mean? Do I need that artery (making its own bypass?) 

submitted by Ro from Florida on 4/27/2014


by Texas Heart Institute cardiovascular surgeon, Denton A. Cooley, MD  

Denton A. Cooley, MD, FACS, FACC, FCCPCoronary distribution in the heart is not always standard. Some vessels are more important than others. Collateral or alternative vessels may develop around a blocked artery in an attempt to maintain circulation. Certain medications may enhance this development. Similarly, not overtaxing the heart may facilitate this collateral circulation.

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Updated April 2014
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