Patients with single-vessel coronary artery disease have a good long-term prognosis with either medical or surgical therapy. Because percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty has become widely available for treating patients with symptomatic single-vessel coronary artery disease, those who currently undergo coronary artery bypass grafting may be a select group. In this study, we examined the effects of the increasing use of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty on the indications for coronary artery bypass grafting in patients with symptomatic single-vessel coronary artery disease and reviewed the type of procedures performed in such patients at our institution between 1983 and 1988. During this period, 115 patients underwent coronary artery bypass grafting for single-vessel coronary artery disease. The indication for revascularization was angina in 111 patients (88% were in class III or IV, Canadian Cardiovascular Society classification), acute myocardial infarction in 3, and a strongly positive result of an exercise test in 1. The number of surgical revascularization procedures annually for single-vessel coronary artery disease remained consistent throughout the study period. In a comparison of the first 3 years of the study with the last 3 years, the number of patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting for restenosis after coronary angioplasty increased, but the number who had surgical revascularization because of failure of coronary angioplasty decreased. In addition, more patients received internal mammary grafts during the second half of the study (42 or 72%) than during the first half (24 or 42%). The development of effective measures to decrease or prevent restenosis and continued improvements in the results of initial coronary angioplasty may prompt further changes in the indications for coronary artery bypass grafting in patients with single-vessel coronary artery disease.
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