Clampless versus clamped coronary bypass grafting: does it make a difference?

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Purpose of review

The techniques of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) have evolved remarkably over the last two decades since the introduction of off-pump coronary artery bypass (OPCAB). This article focuses on the clinical outcomes of ‘clampless’ CABG strategies, that include OPCAB with a partial clamp, OPCAB with a proximal suture device, and aorta no-touch OPCAB.

Recent findings

Observational studies have shown the superiority of OPCAB for preventing strokes and pulmonary complications. Conversely, recent large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been unable to demonstrate the benefits of OPCAB. Because of these differing results across numerous studies, the debate about the overall superiority of OPCAB versus on-pump CABG remains controversial. However, the literature regarding the OPCAB technique with minimized manipulation of the aorta suggests this has likely benefits, especially for high-risk patients.


Previous large RCTs did not focus on specific approaches of OPCAB or the importance of the experience of surgeons and institutions, and so further studies are needed. Observational studies and meta-analyses have indicated that improved outcomes can be achieved by applying specific OPCAB approaches according to each patient's characteristics.

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