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Nation IN BRIEF : LOUISIANA

New Technique for Heart Bypass Urged

November 12, 1996|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Coronary bypass patients recover faster, have lower hospital bills and suffer much less pain if doctors fix their hearts through a tiny slit in the chest instead of splitting open the rib cage, the standard approach for the past 30 years, a study found. Surgeons have been experimenting with the new approach, called keyhole surgery, for about two years. In a presentation at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Assn. in New Orleans, they released the first head-to-head comparisons with the traditional operation, which is performed on more than 400,000 Americans annually. So far, doctors are using it on patients with single blockages, which make up only about 5% of all bypass patients.

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