Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon, Has Died

Neil_Armstrong_pose

That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.

Who could forget those historic words? And the man who spoke them?

Neil Armstrong is dead. His family said that the 82-yr-old died following cardiovascular procedures.

Armstrong had undergone quadruple bypass surgery on August 7, after “flunking” a stress test the day before. NBC News had reported that the surgery had gone well and that Armstrong was “doing great.”

What is  Quadruple Bypass Surgery?

Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) is the most common surgical procedure done for the treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD).

CAD occurs when the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle itself (the coronary arteries) become narrowed by a build up of plaque.

In the procedure, a surgeon uses a piece of a vein from the leg or artery from the chest or wrist.

The surgeon attaches this to the coronary artery above and below the narrowed area or blockage. This allows blood to bypass the blockage.

Some people need more than one coronary artery bypassed- thus the expressions “triple or quadruple, or in this case, quintuple (5) bypass.”

Key Points about CABG from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:

  • Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a type of surgery used to improve blood flow to the heart in people with severe coronary artery disease (CAD).
  • During CABG, a healthy artery or vein from another part of the body is connected, or grafted, to a blocked coronary artery. The grafted artery or vein bypasses (that is, it goes around) the blocked portion of the coronary artery. This improves the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart muscle.
  • CABG is one type of treatment for CAD. Not everyone with CAD needs CABG. In people who are candidates for the surgery, the results are usually excellent, with 85 percent of people having significantly reduced symptoms, less risk for future heart attacks, and a decreased chance of dying within 10 years following the surgery.
  • Although the surgery is usually done on an elective (scheduled) basis, it may need to be performed in an emergency, such as pending or during a heart attack.
  • Although complications are rare, risks of CABG include infection at the incision site, bleeding, reactions to the anesthesia, fever and pain, stroke, heart attack, or even death.
  • Recovery may take 6 to 12 weeks or more. Most people can get back to their normal activities about 6 weeks after the surgery.
  • Care after surgery may include followup visits with doctors,lifestyle changes to prevent further progression of CAD, and taking medicines as prescribed.

For more information, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.

 

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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