Treatment could raise risk of heart bypass death

July 15, 2009 At issue is the way surgeons remove a leg vein that's used to create detours around clogged heart arteries.

Years ago, the vein was taken out through a long incision. More recently, doctors started trying a less invasive removal method where the vein was simply pulled out from a small hole. Now, a report in the New England Journal of Medicine finds those who have the small incision method are more likely to die or suffer a heart attack in the following three years.

It's possible the vein suffers damage from being pulled and does not hold up well over time.

Researchers say doctors may want to use this technique sparingly until more studies can be done.

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