A new study from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has demonstrated that patients who have coronary artery disease may be able to lengthen their lives through coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.
These findings, which showed more positive results than researchers expected, may help more patients with limited therapeutic options achieve better outcomes.
CABG is a surgery that helps to improve the flow of blood through the heart. Surgeons clear out the arteries that are clogged with cholesterol plaques to provide the patients with relief.
“With limited data showing any benefit for patients with left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure, physicians and patients were less likely to engage in such an invasive -- and thus risky -- procedure as CABG for diagnosis and treatment,” Eric Velazquez, lead author from Duke University Medical Center, said. “Patients with these conditions largely received medical therapy alone and had poor outcomes.”
Previously, people thought this surgery was too risky among patients with coronary artery disease and its long-term effects, including heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction, which is when the left portion of the heart cannot function adequately. Usually, the surgery helps patients relieve their chest pain, or angina.
“Our results usher in a new era in the treatment of coronary artery disease because we now have evidence that with CABG and medical therapy, there is a 16 percent reduction in the risk of death from any cause over 10 years,” Velazquez said.