Left main coronary artery stenosis no longer a risk factor for early and late death after coronary artery bypass surgery — an experience covering three decades

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Abstract

Objective:

To analyse early and late mortality after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) in patients with and without left main coronary artery (LMCA) stenosis during the 30-year period 1970-1999.

Methods:

A total of 1888 of 10,647 patients (18%) who underwent a first isolated CABG at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, during 1970-1999 had significant left main coronary artery stenosis. The Swedish National Cause of Death Register was used to determine mortality up to five years after the operation.

Results:

The proportion of patients with LMCA stenosis of all CABG patients increased from 7% during the 1970s to 26% in 1999. During 1970-1984 early mortality was 5.8% in patients with LMCA stenosis compared with 1.5% in patients without LMCA stenosis (odds ratio (OR) 3.7 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.8-7.6)). The corresponding rates during 1995-1999 were 2.0% versus 2.2% (OR 0.8 (95% CI 0.5-1.5)), respectively. The increased risk of early death in patients with LMCA stenosis was neutralised in males during 1985-1994 and in females during 1995-1999. Five-year survival in males was 88% after operations performed during 1994-1999 compared with 82% after CABG performed during 1970-1984. Five-year mortality, exclusive of early deaths, during 1970-1984 was higher in patients with LMCA stenosis (12.8%) than in those without (8.4%) (relative risk 1.7 (95% CI 1.1-2.5)). An increased risk of late mortality in patients with LMCA stenosis was neutralised in males during 1985-1994 and in females during 1995-1999.

Conclusions:

During 1970-1999 there was a decrease of early and five-year mortality in patients with LMCA stenosis after CABG despite increase of patient age and risk factors. There were gender differences so that the risk of death in patients with compared with in those without LMCA stenosis was neutralised in males during 1985-1994 and in females during 1994-1999. The continuous decline of mortality during three decades most likely reflects improvement of the peri- and postoperative management of patients undergoing CABG during this period.

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