Purpose of review: Coronary revascularization has become the principal treatment modality in patients with severe coronary artery disease. The broader application of percutaneous coronary interventions in patients with multivessel disease and the recent introduction of drug-eluting stents have both lead to a decline in the number of patients referred for surgical revascularization. Conventional coronary artery bypass grafting using cardiopulmonary bypass is an excellent treatment, however less invasive surgical approaches such as off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting have appeared in the past few years. The exact role of off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting is still vaguely defined and being critically evaluated. Our aim is to provide an objective review of the recent literature in regard to surgical outcomes.
Recent findings: A critical review of all relevant clinical series from May 2003 to May 2005 was conducted. Current prospective data suggests that both techniques have similar rates of mortality, in regard to morbidity, multiple prospective studies suggest a decrease in stroke rates for off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting. The incidence of postoperative myocardial infarction does not appear to differ between techniques. When analyzed carefully, the results presented herein seem to indicate that both techniques provide similar rates for long-term patency and freedom from surgical reintervention.
Summary: Coronary artery bypass grafting and off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting are both safe and beneficial in patients with multivessel coronary artery disease. It appears that elderly patients with additional co-morbid risk factors may benefit most from off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting. It has become increasingly apparent that off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting can be performed safely in reference centers.