We investigated the patency rates of no-touch saphenous vein grafts anastomosed to the left anterior descending artery compared with the left internal thoracic artery. Further, we compared the patency of no-touch vein grafts to the left anterior descending artery with the patency of no-touch vein grafts to other coronary arteries.Methods
Of 2635 consecutive patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting between 2003 and 2008, 168 (6.3%) were given at least a saphenous vein graft to the left anterior descending artery to avoid harvesting complications in high-risk patients or in response to a left internal thoracic artery injury. A total of 97 patients were consecutively included after informed consent. A clinical examination and computed tomography angiography were performed on 91 patients at a mean of 6 (4-9) years.Results
The mean age of patients was 75.6 ± 8.5 years. Postoperatively, 88.7% of patients (86/97) were free of angina. The 91 examined patients had 163 grafts with 286 distal anastomoses. Crude patency, according to distal anastomoses, was 94.4% (270/286). The patency of single versus sequential no-touch vein grafts to the left anterior descending artery was 98% (50/51) versus 92.5% (37/40). The total patency rate was 95.6% (87/91), similar to the reported patency rate for the left internal thoracic artery. The no-touch grafts to the left anterior descending artery versus other coronaries had a patency of 95.6% (87/91) versus 93.8% (183/195), a high similarity confirmed by an equivalence analysis.Conclusions
In elderly coronary bypass patients with multiple comorbidities, a no-touch saphenous vein graft is a promising substitute for the left internal thoracic artery.