Does a similar procedure result in similar survival for women and men undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass grafting?

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To (1) identify sex-related differences in risk factors and revascularization strategies for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), (2) assess whether these differences influenced early and late survival, and (3) determine whether clinical effectiveness of the same revascularization strategy was influenced by sex.


From January 1972 to January 2011, 57,943 adults—11,009 (19%) women—underwent primary isolated CABG. Separate models for long-term mortality were developed for men and women, followed by assessing sex-related differences in strength of risk factors (interaction terms).


Incomplete revascularization was more common in men than women (26% vs 22%, P < .0001), but women received fewer bilateral internal thoracic artery (ITA) grafts (4.8% vs 12%; P < .0001) and fewer arterial grafts (68% vs 70%; P < .0001). Overall, women had lower survival than men after CABG (65% and 31% at 10 and 20 years, respectively, vs 74% and 41%; P ≤ .0001), even after risk adjustment. Incomplete revascularization was associated equally (P > .9) with lower survival in both sexes. Single ITA grafting was associated with equally (P = .3) better survival in women and men. Although bilateral ITA grafting was associated with better survival than single ITA grafting, it was less effective in women—11% lower late mortality (hazard ratio, 0.89 [0.77-1.022]) versus 27% lower in men (hazard ratio, 0.73 [0.69-0.77]; P = .01).


Women on average have longer life expectancies than men but not after CABG. Every attempt should be made to use arterial grafting and complete revascularization, but for unexplained reasons, sex-related differences in effectiveness of bilateral arterial grafting were identified.

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