Routine use of the left internal mammary artery graft in the elderly

Timothy J. Gardner, Peter S. Greene, Mary F. Rykiel, William A. Baumgartner, Duke E. Cameron, Alfred S. Casale, Vincent L. Gott, Levi Watkins, Bruce A. Reitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Left internal mammary artery (LIMA) grafts have better long-term patency rates than do saphenous vein grafts and result in improved late survival. The present study was undertaken to assess the results of LIMA grafting in the elderly. From 1980 through 1988, 723 patients 70 years of age or older had isolated coronary artery bypass grafting performed. During the first 5 years, only 11% of the elderly patients received LIMA grafts, whereas 86% having coronary artery bypass grafting since 1985 had LIMA grafts. Since 1986, LIMA use in the elderly has become routine, with 92% of patients receiving internal mammary artery grafts. During the first 5 years, elderly patients had a hospital mortality rate of 9.3%. Since 1985, the hospital mortality rate fell to 5.5%. In addition, the occurrence of major surgical complications was either unchanged or reduced in patients receiving LIMA grafts. Furthermore, late follow-up indicates a significantly improved 4-year survival rate in patients with internal mammary artery grafts compared with those without: 86 ± 0.02% versus 77 ± 0.03% (p < 0.01). Analysis of multiple potential risk factors for early mortality was performed using multiple logistic regression and late survival wing the Cox proportional hazards model. Although unmeasured predictor variables may confound retrospective analyses, LIMA grafting appears to be an independent predictor both of improved early and late survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
JournalThe Annals of thoracic surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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