What is a vascular anastomosis?
A vascular anastomosis is a surgical procedure that is used to connect vessels to each other.
Vascular procedures that require an anastomosis include:
- Coronary artery bypass surgery to treat a blocked artery supplying the heart
- Connecting an artery to a vein for hemodialysis access
- Fixing a damaged artery due to a gunshot wound
- Solid organ transplant – connecting the new organ to the blood supply
What to expect from an anastomosis
During a surgical anastomosis, your Mercy Health vascular surgeon will bypass a blocked area of the vessel with a natural or artificial conduit. A natural conduit could be a vein from another section of your body such as the leg. An artificial conduit could be a man-made tube. Your doctor will suture or sew the ends of the vessel to the natural or artificial conduit to form the bypass.
Risks of a vascular anastomosis
The most serious complication associated with vascular anastomosis is an anastomosis leak. An anastomosis leak occurs if the new connection leaks. Symptoms of a leak include fever, infection, abdominal pain, diarrhea and low urine output.
Patients who are obese, are on steroids or drink excessively are more likely to experience a vascular anastomosis.
If you do have a leak, it is important to catch it early. If the leak is small, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics.
Other complications that can arise from a vascular anastomosis include:
Blood clots that could lead to a pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or heart attack
- Severe bleeding
- Blockage in another vessel
- Infection that can lead to sepsis
- Damage to surrounding vessels