Background: Guidelines for timing of elective bypass surgery were established by expert opinion; yet, there is little evidence to support the recommended target times.
Objectives: To estimate the effect of timing of the procedure on in-hospital mortality by comparing groups of patients that differ in the duration of time between decision to operate and performed procedure.
Research Design: We used a population-based registry to identify patients who underwent surgical coronary revascularization and their hospital discharge summaries to identify in-hospital death.
Subjects: We studied 9593 patients who underwent surgical revascularization between 1992 and 2006 after registration on a wait list for first-time isolated coronary artery bypass grafting on an elective basis.
Measures: The outcome was postoperative in-hospital death. The study variable was the timing of surgery, categorized as short, prolonged, and excessive delays according to the guidelines.
Methods: The probability of in-hospital death in relation to timing of surgery was modeled by logistic regression that included a precalculated risk score for in-hospital death, with weighting observations by inverse propensity scores for the 3 surgery timing groups.
Results: In-hospital death among patients with short delays was one third as likely as among those with excessive delays: adjusted odds ratio=0.32 (95% confidence interval 0.20–0.51). The protective effect was smaller and not significant for patients with prolonged delays; odds ratio=0.78 (95% confidence interval, 0.38–1.63).
Conclusions: Our findings suggest a survival benefit from performing elective surgical revascularization within the time frame recommended by the stricter of the 2 guidelines. Our results have implications for health systems that provide universal coverage and that budget the annual number of procedures.