Up to 20% of saphenous vein grafts (SVGs) fail within 2 years of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). The long-term effects of early SVG failure on major clinical events remain undefined in contemporary patient populations. We sought to examine the relation between early SVG failure and long-term outcomes after CABG. Using the Duke Cardiovascular Databank, we examined baseline clinical and angiographic characteristics and clinical outcomes among patients who underwent catheterization 1 to 18 months after their first CABG from 1986 to 2004. Patients were classified on the basis of their worst SVG stenosis as having no (<25%), noncritical (25% to 74%), critical (75% to 99%), or occlusive (100%) SVG disease. Our primary outcome measure was the composite of death, myocardial infarction, or repeat revascularization after catheterization. Of 1,243 patients included in the analysis, 27.9% had no, 11.9% had noncritical, 20.8% had critical, and 39.3% had occlusive SVG disease. At 10 years, the corresponding adjusted composite event rates were 41.2%, 56.2%, 81.2%, and 67.1%, respectively (p <0.0001). Most events occurred immediately after catheterization in patients with critical and occlusive SVG disease and were primarily repeat revascularization. On multivariate analysis, critical, nonocclusive SVG disease was the strongest predictor of the composite outcome (hazard ratio 2.36, 95% confidence interval 2.00 to 2.79, p <0.0001). In conclusion, in contemporary clinical practice, early SVG failure is associated with worse long-term outcomes after CABG.