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
  • Aneurysmectomy 
  • 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
  • Scarring 
  • Blockage in another vessel
  • Infection that can lead to sepsis
  • Damage to surrounding vessels

Find a vascular surgeon nearby

Mercy Health locations that can treat you