Since its inception in the 1960s, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) evolved as one of the most common, best documented, and most effective of all major surgical treatments for ischemic heart disease. Despite its widespread use, however, the outcome is not always completely satisfactory. The objective of this review is to highlight the physical determinants of biomechanical design of CABG so that future procedures would have prolonged patency and better outcome. Our central axiom postulates the existence of a mechanical homeostatic state of the blood vessel, i.e., the variation in vessel wall stresses and strains are relatively small under physiological conditions. Any perturbation of mechanical homeostasis leads to growth and remodeling. In this sense, stenosis and failure of a graft may be viewed as an adaptation process gone awry. We outline the principles of engineering design and discuss the biofluid and biosolid mechanics principles that may have the greatest bearing on mechanical homeostasis and the long-term outcome of CABG.
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