Dissecting arm artery for heart surgery

Dissecting arm artery for heart surgery

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Credit: ANTONIA REEVE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Dissecting arm artery. Surgical retractors holding open an incision that has revealed the brachial artery (horizontal pink tube) of the arm. This is to be used in heart surgery. Lengths from this blood vessel will be harvested for use as grafts to restore blood flow to the heart muscle. The grafts will bypass blockages in the coronary arteries of the heart that normally supply blood. Leg veins are normally used for grafts, but other blood vessels may be used if the leg veins are in poor condition. The veins may also have been used for previous grafting or been removed to treat varicose veins. The bypassed blockages are build- ups of fatty cholesterol on the arterial lining.

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