Background: The main objective of this study was to retrospectively compare early outcome and graft patency in patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting with the internal thoracic artery to the left anterior descending artery via an anterior minithoracotomy or median sternotomy and without the use of extracorporeal circulation.
Methods: One hundred thirty consecutive patients were studied. Median sternotomy was performed in 77 patients and anterior minithoracotomy in 53 patients.
Results: There were no differences in early clinical data or persistent postoperative pain between the groups. Early graft patency was 88% in the thoracotomy group and 96% in the sternotomy group (p = 0.3). Five of 7 patients who presented with a significant stenosis at the first coronary angiography had a normal angiogram at the reangiography. None of the patients with nonsignificant stenosis at the early coronary angiography had any clinical signs of ischemia or chest pain.
Conclusions: In our experience, anterior minithoracotomy and median sternotomy are different and distinguishable regarding early outcome and early graft patency. Most of the stenoses visualized at the early coronary angiography had vanished at a later coronary angiography, which makes the interpretation of the angiogram hazardous as a tool for the decision for redo procedure in the early postoperative period.