Blocked arteries can be treated by bypassing them with a healthy blood vessel, either an artery or vein, from elsewhere in the body. Recent data show that using arteries instead of veins leads to a higher survival rate.
Pirris followed that data, using both mammary arteries from the inside of Buddy’s chest wall in addition to his left arm, thus performing a complex type of bypass surgery called multi-arterial grafting.
In order to get to the arteries, Webster’s sternum had to be cut. After typical open-heart surgeries, the sternum is closed using wires to sew it back up. In Webster’s case, his sternum was closed with plates and screws.
UF Health Jacksonville is currently the only program in Northeast Florida routinely performing this type of surgery. Multi-arterial grafting is a challenging operation that involves more time and detail than standard bypass surgeries, but has a higher and faster recovery rate, along with a reduced risk of infection.
“The recovery was amazingly quick and easy,” said Webster. “I was out of the hospital after five days, back at work three weeks later and playing golf two weeks after that. All of the staff, nurses and physicians at UF Health were fantastic during my entire stay. I can’t thank them enough.”