Objective: A major shortcoming of traditional coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) has been a prolonged recovery time. We compared patients undergoing CABG via robotic assistance (rCABG) vs. sternotomy (stCABG) using a series of objective measures of recovery time.
Methods: We prospectively enrolled patients undergoing rCABG and stCABG at two institutions. At baseline and 3 weeks after surgery, exercise tolerance was compared between groups at maximal effort (maximum 02 consumption, VO2max) and submaximal effort (distance walked in 6-minutes; survey results on duke activity status index, DASI).
Results: At this interim analysis, we have enrolled 20 rCABG patients and 5 stCABG patients. rCABG demonstrated 92% recovery of VO2max compared to sternotomy of 81% (p=NS). At submaximal effort, recovery for rCABG vs. stCABG for DASI scores was 94% vs. 75% (p=NS) and for the 6 minute walk test was 101% vs. 89% (p=NS).
Conclusion: This prospective comparative effectiveness trial is designed to document speed of recovery after rCABG compared to risk-matched stCABG cases. With continued enrollment, we will determine if our preliminary findings about quicker recovery of submaximal effort prove statistically significant.