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Ann Thorac Surg. 1987 Nov;44(5):471-86.

Medical versus early surgical therapy in patients with triple-vessel disease and mild angina pectoris: a CASS registry study of survival.

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  • 1Marshfield Clinic, WI 54449.


Results of coronary artery bypass grafting were evaluated in 856 nonrandomized patients in the Coronary Artery Surgery Study (CASS) registry with mild angina (Canadian Cardiovascular Society Classes I and II) and three-vessel disease, defined as 70% or more stenosis in the proximal or middle segment of the three major coronary arteries. There were 413 patients with medical therapy and 443 with early operation. Patients with delayed operation were kept in the medical group for analysis. Six-year survival adjusted for left ventricular (LV) function and number of proximal stenoses was 67% for medical and 84% for surgical patients (p less than 0.0001). Patients with normal LV function had equal survival with medicine or surgical intervention. Those with mild or moderate LV dysfunction (CASS LV wall motion score 6 to 9 and 10 to 15, respectively) and at least one proximal stenosis (the dominant right coronary artery) had increased probability of being alive at six years with surgical treatment. In patients with severe LV impairment (LV score higher than 15) and in those whose only proximal stenosis of 70% or more (in three-vessel disease) was located in the left anterior descending coronary artery, increased survival with surgical treatment could not be demonstrated. This is a nonrandomized observational study with the limitations of such studies: the need to adjust for differences in baseline traits between medical and surgical groups and the possibility of an unrecognized imbalance in baseline characteristics. In a Cox analysis of variables influencing outcome, early surgical treatment was an independent predictor of survival with 43% the risk of medical treatment (95% confidence range: 29 to 62%). Adjustment by propensity analysis to reduce selection bias from known differences in baseline variables did not alter results.

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