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What are the risks of bypass surgery for peripheral artery disease?

In peripheral artery disease, blockages are present in the arteries that supply the legs, feet, or arms with blood. Bypass surgery is one option for restoring blood flow to your legs, or in some cases arms, if you have PAD. Blood flow is restored by rerouting the blood around the blockage through use of a new blood vessel (from elsewhere in the body or synthetic) called a graft
More than 95 percent of people who undergo bypass surgery do not experience serious complications. But, as with any surgery, risks do exist.

The risks include: 
  • Death (occurs in 2 to 5 percent of cases)  
  • Heart attack (occurs in up to 3.4 percent of cases) 
  • Heavy bleeding and reactions to anesthesia, including difficulty breathing
  • Blood clots 
  • Wound infection
  • Need for additional surgery
The condition of your health at the time of bypass surgery can influence your risk and possible complications. Somewhat higher risk is associated with: 
  • Age: People over 70 years old 
  • Gender: Women are at slightly higher risk 
  • Previous heart surgery 
  • Other serious conditions, such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, kidney disease or lung disease 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.