[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Coronary Artery Bypass Graft operation for ischemic heart disease provides improved quality of life and, in some patients, prolonged survival. Concern has, however, been raised about complications that may be related to the use of cardiopulmonary by-pass (CPB) and aortic cross-clamping. It has been hypothesized that when coronary artery by-pass grafting is performed without the use of CPB, the rate of serious complications is reduced. METHODS/DESIGN: The trial is designed as an open, randomized, controlled, clinical trial with blinded assessment of end-points. Patients at or above 70 years of age, referred for surgical myocardial revascularisation, are included and randomised to receive coronary artery by-pass grafting either with or without the use of CPB and aortic cross-clamping. Follow-up is performed by clinical, biochemical, electrocardiographic, and angiographic data that are evaluated by independent committees that are blinded with respect to the result of the randomisation. End points include mortality, stroke, myocardial infarction, graft patency, quality of life, and cost-effectiveness. The trial is performed in four different Danish, cardiac surgery centres. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00123981.