Routine use of bilateral skeletonized internal thoracic artery grafting: Long-term results

D. Pevni, G. Uretzky, A. Mohr, R. Braunstein, A. Kramer, Y. Paz, I. Shapira, R. Mohr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background - Skeletonized harvesting of the internal thoracic artery (ITA) decreases the severity of sternal devascular-ization, thus reducing the risk of postoperative sternal complications in patients undergoing bilateral ITA grafting. Methods and Results - Between 1996 and 2001, 1515 consecutive patients underwent skeletonized bilateral ITA grafting. Of the 1179 male and 336 female patients, 641 (42.3%) were >70 years of age, and 519 (34.2%) had diabetes mellitus. Operative mortality was 2.8%. Early postoperative morbidity included sternal infection (1.6%), cerebrovascular accident (3%), and perioperative myocardial infarction (1%). Multiple regression analysis showed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (odds ratio, 11.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.45 to 28.55), repeat operation (odds ratio, 12.7; 95% CI, 3.25 to 49.56), and diabetes mellitus (non-insulin dependent: odds ratio, 4.64; 95% CI, 1.85 to 11.59; insulin dependent: odds ratio, 6.9; 95% CI, 1.35 to 35.27) to be associated with increased risk of sternal infection. Follow-up (between 5 and 12 years) revealed 305 late deaths. Kaplan-Meier 10-year survival rates for patients <65, 65 to 74, and >75 years of age were 87%, 75%, and 52%, respectively. Cox regression analysis revealed increased overall mortality (early and late) in patients with peripheral vascular disease (hazard ratio [HR], 1.8; 95% CI, 1.39 to 2.33), patients >75 years of age (HR, 7.23; 95% CI, 4.16 to 12.55), those undergoing repeat operations (HR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.27 to 3.89), patients with preoperative congestive heart failure (HR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.29 to 3.75), and those with chronic renal failure (HR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.11 to 2.01). Operations performed without cardiopulmonary bypass were associated with better postoperative survival (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.49 to 0.87). Conclusions - Bilateral ITA grafting is associated with low morbidity and good long-term results. Use of skeletonized bilateral ITA is appropriate for the elderly and most patients with diabetes; however, it is not recommended for repeat operations or for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-712
Number of pages8
Issue number7
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronary disease
  • Grafting
  • Revascularization


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