Radial artery conduits improve long-term survival after coronary artery bypass grafting

Robert F. Tranbaugh, Kamellia R. Dimitrova, Patricia Friedmann, Charles M. Geller, Loren J. Harris, Paul Stelzer, Bertram Cohen, Darryl M. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Background: The second best conduit for coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) is unclear. We sought to determine if the use of a second arterial conduit, the radial artery (RA), would improve long-term survival after CABG using the left internal thoracic artery (LITA) and saphenous vein (SV). Methods: We compared the 14-year outcomes in propensity-matched patients undergoing isolated, primary CABG using the LITA, RA, and SV versus CABG using the LITA and only SV. In all, 826 patients from each group had similar propensity-matched demographics and multiple variables. The primary endpoint was all-cause mortality obtained using the Social Security Death Index. Results: Perioperative outcomes including in hospital mortality (0.1% for the RA patients and 0.2% for the SV patients) were similar. Kaplan-Meier survival at 1, 5, and 10 years was 98.3%, 93.9%, and 83.1% for the RA group versus 97.2%, 88.7%, and 74.3% for the SV group (log rank, p = 0.0011). Cox proportional hazards models showed a lower all-cause mortality in the RA group (hazard ratio 0.72, confidence interval: 0.56 to 0.92, p = 0.0084). Ten-year survivals showed a 52% increased mortality for the SV patients (25.7%) versus the RA patients (16.9%; p = 0.0011). For symptomatic patients, RA patency was 80.7%, which was not different than the LITA patency rate of 86.4% but was superior to the SV patency rate of 46.7% (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Using the LITA, SV, and a RA conduit for CABG results in significantly improved long-term survival compared with using the LITA and SV. The use of two arterial conduits offers a clear and lasting survival advantage, likely due to the improved patency of RA grafts. We conclude that RA conduits should be more widely utilized during CABG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1165-1172
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


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