Two internal thoracic artery grafts are better than one

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1999 May;117(5):855-72. doi: 10.1016/S0022-5223(99)70365-X.


Objective: Does the use of bilateral internal thoracic artery (ITA) grafts provide incremental benefit relative to the use of a single ITA graft?

Methods: We conducted a retrospective, nonrandomized, long-term (mean follow-up interval of 10 postoperative years) study of patients undergoing elective primary isolated coronary bypass surgery who received either single (8123 patients) or bilateral ITA grafts (2001 patients), with or without additional vein grafts. Multiple statistical methods including propensity score matching, and multivariable parsimonious and nonparsimonious risk factor analyses were used to address the issues of patient selection and heterogeneity.

Results: In-hospital mortality was 0.7% for both the bilateral and single ITA groups. Survival for the bilateral ITA group was 94%, 84%, and 67%, and for the single ITA group 92%, 79%, and 64% at 5, 10, and 15 postoperative years, respectively (P <.001). Death, reoperation, and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty were more frequent for patients undergoing single rather than bilateral ITA grafting, and this observation remained true despite multiple adjustments for patient selection, sampling, and length of follow-up. The differences between the bilateral and single ITA groups were greatest in regard to reoperation. The extent of benefit of bilateral ITA grafting varied according to patient-related variables, but no patient subsets were identified for whom single ITA grafting could be predicted to provide an advantage.

Conclusions: Patients who received 2 ITA grafts had decreased risks of death, reoperation, and angioplasty.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary / statistics & numerical data
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / methods*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / mortality
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Coronary Disease / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mammary Arteries / transplantation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome