Surgical ventricular remodeling: should we STICH or not?

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Purpose of review

The surgical management of patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy, especially those with left ventricular ejection fractions less than 20% has historically been controversial. The original trials of surgical revascularization versus medical therapy intentionally excluded those patients with an ejection fraction less than 35%. The significant advances in medical therapy for heart failure over the past 30 years (β-blockade, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, internal cardiac defibrillator and so on) also mandated a reevaluation of the potential benefits of surgical revascularization in this high-risk subset. The purpose of this review is to examine the data from the Surgical Treatment for Ischemic Heart Failure (STICH) trial, initially reported in 2009 and 2011.

Recent findings

Recent reports published in 2016 have now clearly defined the role of surgery over medical therapy for these patients. Furthermore, although the benefits of surgical ventricular reconstruction were once questioned by the results of STICH, further analyses identify that an appropriately selected patient who undergoes a technically adequate operation will derive benefit from surgical ventricular reconstruction.


The conclusions from the various substudies examining STICH trial data now indicate that in surgical candidates with graftable coronary artery disease, surgical revascularization provides a reduction in overall mortality, cardiovascular deaths and hospitalizations, independent of symptoms, baseline left ventricular size or function and surprisingly, regardless of any viability or evidence of inducible ischemia.

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