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N Engl J Med. 2018 May 31;378(22):2069-2077. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1716026. Epub 2018 Apr 30.

Radial-Artery or Saphenous-Vein Grafts in Coronary-Artery Bypass Surgery.

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From the Departments of Cardiothoracic Surgery (M.G., L.N.G.) and Healthcare Policy and Research (A.S.), Weill Cornell Medicine, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (J.D.P.), New York; Bristol Heart Institute, Bristol (U.B., G.D.A.), Royal Brompton and Harefield Trust, London (N.M.), and the University of Oxford, Oxford (D.P.T.) - all in the United Kingdom; Schulich Heart Centre, Sunnybrook Health Science, University of Toronto, Toronto (S.F.); the Department of Medico-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, Sapienza University, Rome (G.B.-Z., G.F.), the Department of Angiocardioneurology, IRCCS Neuromed, Pozzilli (G.B.-Z., G.F.), and Anthea Hospital, Bari (G.N., G.S.) - all in Italy; the University of Melbourne (B.B., D.L.H.), and the Austin Hospital (P.H.), Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Dedinje Cardiovascular Institute and Belgrade University School of Medicine, Belgrade, Serbia (M.P.); and Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea (K.J.Y.).



The use of radial-artery grafts for coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG) may result in better postoperative outcomes than the use of saphenous-vein grafts. However, randomized, controlled trials comparing radial-artery grafts and saphenous-vein grafts have been individually underpowered to detect differences in clinical outcomes. We performed a patient-level combined analysis of randomized, controlled trials to compare radial-artery grafts and saphenous-vein grafts for CABG.


Six trials were identified. The primary outcome was a composite of death, myocardial infarction, or repeat revascularization. The secondary outcome was graft patency on follow-up angiography. Mixed-effects Cox regression models were used to estimate the treatment effect on the outcomes.


A total of 1036 patients were included in the analysis (534 patients with radial-artery grafts and 502 patients with saphenous-vein grafts). After a mean (±SD) follow-up time of 60±30 months, the incidence of adverse cardiac events was significantly lower in association with radial-artery grafts than with saphenous-vein grafts (hazard ratio, 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.49 to 0.90; P=0.01). At follow-up angiography (mean follow-up, 50±30 months), the use of radial-artery grafts was also associated with a significantly lower risk of occlusion (hazard ratio, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.70; P<0.001). As compared with the use of saphenous-vein grafts, the use of radial-artery grafts was associated with a nominally lower incidence of myocardial infarction (hazard ratio, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.99; P=0.04) and a lower incidence of repeat revascularization (hazard ratio, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.40 to 0.63; P<0.001) but not a lower incidence of death from any cause (hazard ratio, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.59 to 1.41; P=0.68).


As compared with the use of saphenous-vein grafts, the use of radial-artery grafts for CABG resulted in a lower rate of adverse cardiac events and a higher rate of patency at 5 years of follow-up. (Funded by Weill Cornell Medicine and others.).

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