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 04/27/2014

by Denton A. Cooley, MD

Coronary 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.