Clinical and angiographic assessment of complex mammary artery bypass grafting

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1986 Nov;92(5):832-46.


The internal mammary artery has become the coronary bypass graft of choice in recent years because of enhanced long-term patency. Along with this trend, sequential, bilateral, and free mammary grafts have been employed more frequently in an effort to maximize the number of distal internal mammary anastomoses. This approach of maximally using the internal mammary artery (complex mammary grafting) seems logical, but at present little information about patency of the newer types of internal mammary artery grafts is available to justify the more complicated procedures. Over a 15 month period, 207 patients underwent bypass graft angiography from 1 to 32 weeks after operation. This is an 85% restudy rate for a consecutive series of coronary bypass procedures. Patency was defined as complete filling of the graft and distal vessel bypassed. A total of 841 distal vessels were grafted, or 4.1 per patient. The overall patency rate was 91% for 503 distal vein graft anastomoses and 99% for 338 internal mammary artery grafts. Individual patency rates of distal anastomoses, expressed as number patent/total (percent patent), were as follows: simple vein grafts, 262/285 (92%); sequential vein grafts, 196/218 (90%); left internal mammary artery to left anterior descending coronary artery, 109/110 (99%); left internal mammary to circumflex marginal artery, 14/14 (100%); right internal mammary to right coronary artery, 19/20 (95%); right internal mammary to left anterior descending coronary artery, 10/10 (100%); right internal mammary to circumflex marginal artery via transverse sinus, 18/20 (90%); sequential left internal mammary artery to left anterior descending system, 133/134 (99%); sequential left internal mammary to circumflex marginal system, 15/15 (100%); free internal mammary artery, 9/9 (100%); free sequential internal mammary artery, 6/6 (100%). Of the 18 patent transverse sinus right internal mammary grafts to the circumflex marginal artery, three exhibited very slow flow and probably were not functional. The hospital mortality associated with internal mammary revascularizations was 0.4% for nonemergency cases and 3.1% for emergency procedures. On the basis of clinical and postoperative graft patency data, expanded use of more complicated types of mammary grafts seems justified. Function of the right internal mammary graft to the circumflex marginal artery was suboptimal, and this method has been discontinued. All other complex mammary techniques had excellent patency rates as compared to vein grafts, and these differences may become even more significant in the late postoperative period.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coronary Angiography*
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Disease / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Revascularization / methods*
  • Myocardial Revascularization / statistics & numerical data
  • North Carolina
  • Postoperative Period
  • Saphenous Vein / transplantation
  • Vascular Patency