Actress Rue McClanahan, best known for playing the saucy Blanche Devereaux on Golden Girls, is recovering well from coronary artery bypass surgery. The heart disease was diagnosed when the actress had gone to her doctor about a knee problem. McClanahan has been working on a tribute show at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. The actress said: “Unfortunately, my doctor has laid down the law, and I’m currently in the hospital having some maintenance on the old ticker,” she said. “Trust me, I’d much rather be in San Francisco having fun and being adored by all of you.”
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common kind of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in the United States. It occurs when the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle itself (the coronary arteries) become narrowed by a build up of plaque. Plaque is made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium and other substances from the blood. With narrowing of the arteries comes a decrease in blood supply to the heart muscle. This can lead to the symptoms of chest pain (angina) or even heart attack if the narrowing is severe enough, or if part of the plaque breaks off and blocks a smaller part of the artery.
Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) is the most common surgical procedure done for the treatment of CAD. The 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 bypass.”
Key Points about CABG from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
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