Decision-making in end-stage coronary artery disease: revascularization or heart transplantation?

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, German Heart Institute Berlin, Germany.
The Annals of Thoracic Surgery (Impact Factor: 3.45). 12/1997; 64(5):1296-301; discussion 1302. DOI: 10.1016/S0003-4975(97)00805-9
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Left ventricular function is the most important predictor of survival in patients with coronary artery disease. It is also an important indicator for hospital and late mortality after operation for endstage coronary artery disease.
Between April 1986 and December 1994, 514 patients with end-stage coronary artery disease and left ventricular ejection fraction between 0.10 and 0.30 underwent coronary artery bypass grafting at the German Heart Institute Berlin. Two hundred twenty-five of these patients had been referred as possible candidates for heart transplantation. The prime criterion for bypass grafting was ischemia diagnosed by myocardial scintigraphy and echocardiography ("hibernating myocardium").
Operative mortality for the group was 7.1%. The actuarial survival rate was 90.8% after 2 years, 87.6% after 4, and 78.9% after 6. Left heart catheterizations performed 1 year after the operation showed that left ventricular ejection fraction had increased from a mean of 0.24 +/- 0.03 preoperatively to 0.39 +/- 0.06 postoperatively (p < 0.0001). Preoperatively 91.6% of the patients were in New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III or IV; 6 months postoperatively 90.2% of the surviving patients were in NYHA class I or II. Two hundred thirty-one patients with end-stage coronary artery disease and predominant heart failure underwent heart transplantation. Their actuarial survival rate was 74.9% after 2 years, 73.2% after 4, and 68.9% after 6. All of the patients could be recategorized into NYHA class I or II after the operation.
We conclude that coronary artery bypass grafting and heart transplantation can be used successfully to improve the life expectancy of patients with end-stage coronary artery disease. Coronary artery bypass grafting leads to an excellent prognosis for these high-risk patients when the myocardium is preoperatively identified as being viable.

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