Clinical significance, angiographic characteristics, and short-term outcomes in 30 patients with early coronary artery graft failure

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Background: Despite technical advances in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), early postoperative myocardial ischaemia still remains a challenging problem. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence, clinical features, angiographic characteristics, and management of early graft failure in the present CABG era.
Methods: Between January 1997 and December 2002, 1731 patients underwent CABG at our institution. Coronary angiography was performed in patients with clinical evidence of early postoperative ischaemia (≤=3 months). Thirty of these patients with graft failure constituted the population of this study.
Results: Off-pump and on-pump CABG were almost evenly performed in these patients [n=16 (53%) and n=14 (47%) respectively]. Acute myocardial infarction and unstable angina were the leading indications for coronary angiography in the majority of patients [n=28 (93%)]. The most common cause of graft failure was occlusion / thrombosis [n=20 (67%)]. Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) was offered to the majority of patients [n=22 (73%)]. Of these patients, 14 underwent PCI to native coronary arteries, whereas eight underwent PCI to the culprit vessel. Three patients underwent reoperation, and five received medical management. Four patients (13%) died in hospital (two after redo CABG, one after unsuccessful PCI, and one patient managed medically). Two patients (7%) had nonfatal major complications (one non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction and one stroke).
Conclusion: Early graft failure generally presents as acute coronary syndrome. Graft occlusion/ thrombosis is the leading cause of ischaemia. Patients with graft failure can undergo PCI with a relatively low risk, but the need for redo CABG in associated with a high mortality. (Neth Heart J 2009;17:13-7.).


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


Netherlands Heart Journal