Does coronary artery bypass surgery improve survival?
Journal article, 2012
Objectives. According to guide-lines, coronary bypass surgery improves survival in high risk patients. The evidence for this is more than 20 years old and may be questioned. Long waiting lists for coronary bypass surgery are detrimental but offer the possibility to compare the risk of death before and after surgery. We hypothesized that the risk of death is lower after bypass surgery than before the operation in high risk patients in a more recent cohort. Design and results. Death hazard functions were calculated by the use of Poisson regression scheduled for bypass surgery between 1 Jan 1995 and 31 July 2005. The analyses were performed in two states: 1) in the period after triage until admission for surgery during which optimal medication was intended and 2) after surgery and up to 11 years (corresponding to 57,548 patient years). The probability of death was calculated by entering individual risk profile data into the two multivariable functions. There were several significant differences between the hazard functions in the two states. All variables reflecting angiographic severity of coronary lesions indicated lower risk of death after bypass surgery. The risk associated with left ventricular impairment was lower after surgery (beta coefficients -0.0546 vs. -0.0234, p < 0.001). Only one variable, age, indicated higher risk after surgery (which is also seen in a general population over time). The reduction of risk was dependent on preoperative risk with a large reduction when preoperative risk was high and vice versa. When preoperative risk was low, however, the risk increased due to surgical mortality. Conclusions. The risk of death is lower after bypass surgery than before the operation in high risk patients. This is most likely explained by a prognostic gain from bypass surgery. The gain is largest in high-risk patients but small or absent in low risk patients.
death hazard functions
coronary bypass surgery