Value of internal thoracic artery grafting to the left anterior descending coronary artery at coronary reoperation

Joseph F. Sabik, Sajjad Raza, Eugene H. Blackstone, Penny L. Houghtaling, Bruce W. Lytle

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The study sought to determine if left internal thoracic artery (LITA) grafting of the left anterior descending (LAD) at reoperative coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) improves patient outcomes. Background: LITA grafting to the LAD is the gold standard for primary CABG, but its value for reoperative CABG is unknown. Methods: From January 1985 to January 2007, reoperative CABG was performed in 3,473 patients who did not receive a LITA during their primary CABG and whose anterior myocardium (LAD) was at risk at reoperation: 2,389 had LITA grafting and 1,084 saphenous vein (SV) grafting to the LAD. Propensity matching (908 matched pairs) was used for balanced comparison of outcomes. Follow-up was continued to 20 years post-operatively, with a mean follow-up of 11 ± 8.2 years. Results: Unadjusted hospital mortality was 2.2% and 6.5% in the LITA and SV groups, respectively (p < 0.001), but 3.1% and 5.6% in propensity-matched groups (p = 0.008). Unadjusted survival at 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 years was 94%, 82%, 64%, 46%, and 32% for the LITA group, but 88%, 73%, 50%, 32%, and 18% for the SV group (p <.0001), respectively. For propensity-matched groups, both early (p = 0.01) and late survival was greater (p = 0.005) in the LITA group. At 20 years, LITA grafting of the LAD at reoperation resulted in an absolute mortality risk reduction of 6.0% and a hazard ratio of 0.85, with number needed to treat of 16 patients. Conclusions: LITA-to-LAD grafting at reoperation is safe and confers a risk-adjusted survival advantage. When appropriate, a LITA should be used to revascularize the LAD at coronary reoperations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-310
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • coronary disease
  • internal thoracic artery
  • reoperation
  • revascularization
  • surgery
  • survival


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