Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is an outstanding example for the tremendous technological and demographic changes that have taken place during the past five decades. Today, about 100 000 CABG operations are performed annually in Germany, of which roughly 25% are on women (StBA, 2007). The operation is performed to relieve angina pectoris and to reduce the risk of death from coronary heart disease (CHD). In order to bypass atherosclerotic narrowing, either veins from the leg or the left internal mammary artery are grafted from the aorta to the coronary arteries. Thereby the impaired blood supply of the heart is improved. From a medical point of view, differences in body surface area are related to a difference in vessel size. Because smaller coronary arteries may be more difficult to operate on, some authors have suggested that complete revascularization may be harder to achieve for women compared to men (Osswald et al., 2001; Humphries et al., 2007). Complications that can occur after surgery are, amongst others, infections at incision sites, deep vein thrombosis, malunion of the sternum, stroke during reperfusion, chronic pain at incision sites and postoperative stress-related illnesses. Of all patients, 3–4% die in the first 28 days after surgery, a time span, which is referred to as early mortality or in-hospital mortality, respectively. Gender differences in the early mortality rate have been the object of intense debate in numerous studies.


Depressive Symptom Social Support Coronary Heart Disease Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Left Internal Mammary Artery 
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© Steinkopff Verlag 2009

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