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N Engl J Med. 1985 Jun 27;312(26):1665-71.

A randomized trial of coronary artery bypass surgery. Survival of patients with a low ejection fraction.


The Coronary Artery Surgery Study (CASS) was designed to compare medical and surgical treatment of selected patients with chronic, stable coronary artery disease. This report concerns a subset of patients with reduced ventricular function. Of 780 patients randomly assigned to medical or surgical treatment, 160 had ejection fractions above 0.34 but below 0.50 at base line and have been followed for an average of seven years. Eighty-two patients were assigned to medical therapy, and 78 to surgery; the two groups were comparable at base line with regard to prognostically important variables. At seven years, 84 per cent of patients in the surgical group were alive, as compared with 70 per cent of the medical group (P = 0.01). Nearly half the patients with impaired ventricular function had triple-vessel disease at entry; at seven years, observed survival in this group was 88 and 65 per cent for those assigned to surgical and medical treatment, respectively (P = 0.009). Survival of patients with single-vessel or double-vessel disease was similar in the two treatment groups. We conclude that patients with triple-vessel disease and ejection fractions higher than 0.34 but lower than 0.50 appear to have improved seven-year survival with elective bypass surgery.

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