Background: Complete arterial myocardial revascularization without the use of saphenous veins grafts was primarily performed on selected patient populations such as the young and nondiabetic. In a recently developed surgical technique, the internal mammary artery is dissected gently as a longer skeletonized artery, providing greater versatility for complete arterial revascularization, without saphenous veins grafts.
Methods: We prospectively evaluated the impact of the routine use of double skeletonized internal mammary artery in 472 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting between April 1996 and June 1997. Their average age was 65 years (30 to 87 years), 383 (83%) were men, and 89 (17%) women. One hundred sixty-nine (36%) of the patients were older than 70 years, and 145 (31%) were diabetic. The average number of grafts was 3.2 per patient (two to six grafts).
Results: Operative mortality was 1.7% (n = 8). The mortality of urgent and elective patients was 0.7% (3 of 410 patients), and that of emergency operations was 8.1% (5 of 62 patients; p < 0.01). There were three (0.6%) perioperative infarcts, and 6 patients (1.3%) sustained strokes. Sternal wound infection occurred in 8 patients (1.7%). Postoperative follow-up (1 to 25 months) was available in 462 patients (99%). Two-year actuarial survival was 96.8%, and 92% of the surviving patients are well and free of angina. Neither diabetes mellitus nor old age (>70 years) were significant independent predictors of any early or late untoward events. None of the 70 diabetic patients more than 65 years of age developed sternal wound infection. Chronic lung disease was found to be the only independent predictor for sternal infections.
Conclusions: Routine use of bilateral skeletonized internal mammary artery is a safe replacement for the current myocardial revascularization technique even in the old and diabetic patients.