Long-term impact of critical silent cerebrovascular disease in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery: a propensity score and multivariate analyses

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Background:Cerebrovascular disease (CVD) with brain hypoperfusion is a strong risk factor for stroke. However, how this pathology influences long-term outcomes after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is not known.Methods:Magnetic resonance imaging/angiography (MRI/A) of the neck and brain was performed in 318 out of 575 consecutive CABG patients between May 2005 and April 2018. Critical CVD with chronic hypoperfusion was defined as multiple severe stenoses (≥70%) and/or occlusion in the carotid and/or vertebral systems associated with reduced collateral flow due to severe contralateral and/or circle of Willis lesion. Fifty patients were identified to have this pathology (early results were previously reported). The entire cohort was followed up for 83.6 ± 53.7 months. Carotid endarterectomy was considered for symptomatic patients. Propensity matching was performed to compare long-term outcomes between patients with and without critical CVD.Results:Patients with critical CVD at follow-up displayed significantly higher incidences of stroke than those without critical CVD (p=0.007), with an extremely high final incidence (approximately 40% at 8 years). However, survival (p=0.623) and incidences of major adverse cardiac events (MACE: myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization and all causes of death) (p=0.881) were similar. The Cox hazard model revealed that critical CVD was the strongest risk factor for stroke (p=0.000; hazard ratio 6.572; 95% confidence interval 2.657–16.258) while not affecting survival and MACE.Conclusion:Critical CVD was the strongest risk factor for long-term stroke after CABG. However, survival and MACE-free rates were equivalent in patients with critical CVD and those without critical CVD.

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