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Cathet Cardiovasc Diagn. 1992 Dec;27(4):280-3.

Early postoperative occlusion of a left internal mammary artery bypass graft with subsequent restoration of patency.

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Maimonides Medical Center, Division of Cardiology, SUNY Health Science Center, Brooklyn 11219.


Total occlusion of a left internal mammary artery (LIMA) bypass graft is a rare complication, and reversal of a documented occlusion has not been reported. This is a case of an early postoperative occlusion of a LIMA graft that was found to be patent 4 months later. A patient with three vessel disease (including a moderate lesion in the proximal left anterior descending artery and a severe lesion in its mid-portion) underwent coronary artery bypass grafting with a LIMA to the mid-left anterior descending artery (LAD) and saphenous vein grafts to the right coronary and left circumflex arteries. Coronary angiography 3 months after surgery revealed a totally occluded internal mammary artery and saphenous vein grafts. The patient then underwent a successful angioplasty of the more distal lesion in the LAD. She subsequently returned with recurrent angina. Repeat coronary angiography revealed rapid progression of the disease in the proximal LAD with the more distal angioplasty site being widely patent. Selective arteriography of the internal mammary artery at that time revealed a patent vessel. Thus, the internal mammary graft is a physiologically active conduit that is dependent on flow dynamics. Competitive flow through the nonobstructive native LAD in combination with impedance of flow through the internal mammary artery due to a severe lesion in the LAD distal to the anastomosis led to a functionally occluded LIMA. When the obstruction in the proximal LAD progressed and the distal obstruction was successfully angioplastied, the flow dynamics in the internal mammary improved, allowing for its dilatation and restoration of patency.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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