Role of platelets and platelet inhibitors in aortocoronary artery vein-graft disease

V. Fuster, J. H. Chesebro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


To study the prevention of occlusion of aortocoronary-artery bypass graft, we conducted a prospective, randomized, double-blind trial comparing long-term administration of dipyridamole (begun 2 days before operation) plus aspirin (begun 7 hr after operation) with placebo in 407 patients. Results at 1 month and at 1 year showed a reduction in the rate of graft occlusion in patients receiving dipyridamole and aspirin. On the basis of our clinical trial and our experimental studies in dogs and pigs, we describe four consecutive phases of aortocoronary artery bypass vein-graft disease: (1) an early postoperative phase of platelet thrombotic occlusion, which is significantly prevented by platelet inhibitor therapy when started in the perioperative period; in addition, occlusion rates are presently decreasing, perhaps related to better surgical and technical experience; (2) an intermediate phase of platelet-related intimal hyperplasia, within the first postoperative year, which is not prevented with platelet inhibitor therapy; (3) a late phase of occlusion, toward the end of the first postoperative year, in which intimal hyperplasia or complicating platelet thrombi superimposed on the intimal hyperplasia may contribute to occlusion; platelet inhibitor therapy is of significant benefit in the prevention of this thrombotic type of occlusion; (4) a phase of atherosclerotic disease, after the first postoperative year, in which the role of platelets and of platelet inhibitor therapy is under investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-232
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1986


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