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'Beating heart' surgery no better than bypass

'Beating heart' bypass surgery may not be better than traditional bypass, a new study has suggested.

Traditionally, surgeons performing heart bypass surgery stop the patient's heart during the procedure, connecting them to a heart-lung bypass machine throughout the operation.

Researchers have previously suggested that this could increase the chances of mental decline, and beating heart bypass, which allows surgeons to perform heart surgery while the organ continues to beat, has therefore been suggested to be more beneficial for suitable patients.

However, a new study from the University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands found that low-risk patients who had undergone traditional bypass five years previously demonstrated the same decline in mental skills, including attention, memory and manual dexterity, as those who had undergone beating heart surgery.

There was also little difference in cardiac performance between the two types of heart surgery, with 21 per cent of patients undergoing beating heart bypass experiencing a heart attack, stroke or heart-related death in the five-year follow-up period, compared to 18 per cent of patients undergoing traditional heart surgery.

The researchers concluded that use of beating heart bypass "had no effect on cognitive or cardiac outcome five years after the procedure", WebMD reports.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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'Beating heart' surgery no better than bypass
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