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Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is the most common major surgical procedure in the United States with over 300,000 cases performed each year. To restore blood flow to the heart, vascular conduits from another part of the body are procured to create a bypass around critically blocked coronary arteries. The left internal thoracic artery is the conduit of choice for CABG due to its superior long-term patency. However, almost all patients referred for CABG require additional grafts to provide complete revascularization. This necessitates the harvest of other vessels, most commonly the saphenous vein which is used almost ubiquitously in contemporary CABG with an average of two vein grafts per CABG procedure. In the last 10 years, Endoscopic Vein Harvesting (EVH) has been recommended as the preferred method over the traditional open harvesting technique (OVH) because it provides a minimally invasive approach. However, more recent investigations indicate potential for reduced long-term bypass graft patency and worse clinical outcomes with EVH. The long term impact of EVH on clinical outcomes has never been investigated on a large scale using a definitive, adequately powered, prospective Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) with long-term follow-up.
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