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Concept: Coronary artery bypass surgery


Background Bivalirudin, as compared with heparin and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors, has been shown to reduce rates of bleeding and death in patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Whether these benefits persist in contemporary practice characterized by prehospital initiation of treatment, optional use of glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors and novel P2Y12 inhibitors, and radial-artery PCI access use is unknown. Methods We randomly assigned 2218 patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) who were being transported for primary PCI to receive either bivalirudin or unfractionated or low-molecular-weight heparin with optional glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors (control group). The primary outcome at 30 days was a composite of death or major bleeding not associated with coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG), and the principal secondary outcome was a composite of death, reinfarction, or non-CABG major bleeding. Results Bivalirudin, as compared with the control intervention, reduced the risk of the primary outcome (5.1% vs. 8.5%; relative risk, 0.60; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.43 to 0.82; P=0.001) and the principal secondary outcome (6.6% vs. 9.2%; relative risk, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.54 to 0.96; P=0.02). Bivalirudin also reduced the risk of major bleeding (2.6% vs. 6.0%; relative risk, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.66; P<0.001). The risk of acute stent thrombosis was higher with bivalirudin (1.1% vs. 0.2%; relative risk, 6.11; 95% CI, 1.37 to 27.24; P=0.007). There was no significant difference in rates of death (2.9% vs. 3.1%) or reinfarction (1.7% vs. 0.9%). Results were consistent across subgroups of patients. Conclusions Bivalirudin, started during transport for primary PCI, improved 30-day clinical outcomes with a reduction in major bleeding but with an increase in acute stent thrombosis. (Funded by the Medicines Company; EUROMAX number, NCT01087723 .).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Percutaneous coronary intervention, Clopidogrel, Low molecular weight heparin, Coronary artery bypass surgery, Acute coronary syndrome, Anticoagulant


Background The use of bilateral internal thoracic (mammary) arteries for coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG) may improve long-term outcomes as compared with the use of a single internal-thoracic-artery plus vein grafts. Methods We randomly assigned patients scheduled for CABG to undergo single or bilateral internal-thoracic-artery grafting in 28 cardiac surgical centers in seven countries. The primary outcome was death from any cause at 10 years. The composite of death from any cause, myocardial infarction, or stroke was a secondary outcome. Interim analyses were prespecified at 5 years of follow-up. Results A total of 3102 patients were enrolled; 1554 were randomly assigned to undergo single internal-thoracic-artery grafting (the single-graft group) and 1548 to undergo bilateral internal-thoracic-artery grafting (the bilateral-graft group). At 5 years of follow-up, the rate of death was 8.7% in the bilateral-graft group and 8.4% in the single-graft group (hazard ratio, 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.81 to 1.32; P=0.77), and the rate of the composite of death from any cause, myocardial infarction, or stroke was 12.2% and 12.7%, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.79 to 1.17; P=0.69). The rate of sternal wound complication was 3.5% in the bilateral-graft group versus 1.9% in the single-graft group (P=0.005), and the rate of sternal reconstruction was 1.9% versus 0.6% (P=0.002). Conclusions Among patients undergoing CABG, there was no significant difference between those receiving single internal-thoracic-artery grafts and those receiving bilateral internal-thoracic-artery grafts with regard to mortality or the rates of cardiovascular events at 5 years of follow-up. There were more sternal wound complications with bilateral internal-thoracic-artery grafting than with single internal-thoracic-artery grafting. Ten-year follow-up is ongoing. (Funded by the British Heart Foundation and others; ART Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN46552265 .).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Blood, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Coronary artery disease, Heart, Randomized controlled trial, Coronary artery bypass surgery


Atherosclerosis is a major cause of mortality and morbidity, which is mainly driven by complications such as myocardial infarction and stroke. These complications are caused by thrombotic arterial occlusion localized at the site of high-risk atherosclerotic plaques, of which early detection and therapeutic stabilization are urgently needed. Here we show that near-infrared autofluorescence is associated with the presence of intraplaque hemorrhage and heme degradation products, particularly bilirubin by using our recently created mouse model, which uniquely reflects plaque instability as seen in humans, and human carotid endarterectomy samples. Fluorescence emission computed tomography detecting near-infrared autofluorescence allows in vivo monitoring of intraplaque hemorrhage, establishing a preclinical technology to assess and monitor plaque instability and thereby test potential plaque-stabilizing drugs. We suggest that near-infrared autofluorescence imaging is a novel technology that allows identification of atherosclerotic plaques with intraplaque hemorrhage and ultimately holds promise for detection of high-risk plaques in patients.Atherosclerosis diagnosis relies primarily on imaging and early detection of high-risk atherosclerotic plaques is important for risk stratification of patients and stabilization therapies. Here Htun et al. demonstrate that vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques generate near-infrared autofluorescence that can be detected via emission computed tomography.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Stroke, Atheroma, Artery, Infarction, Coronary artery bypass surgery


Placebo effects contribute substantially to outcome in most fields of medicine. While clinical trials typically try to control or minimize these effects, the potential of placebo mechanisms to improve outcome is rarely used. Patient expectations about treatment efficacy and outcome are major mechanisms that contribute to these placebo effects. We aimed to optimize these expectations to improve outcome in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Angina pectoris, Coronary artery disease, Heart, Physician, Artery, Coronary circulation, Coronary artery bypass surgery


Background Previously, we reported that there was no significant difference at 30 days in the rate of a primary composite outcome of death, myocardial infarction, stroke, or new renal failure requiring dialysis between patients who underwent coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG) performed with a beating-heart technique (off-pump) and those who underwent CABG performed with cardiopulmonary bypass (on-pump). We now report results on quality of life and cognitive function and on clinical outcomes at 1 year. Methods We enrolled 4752 patients with coronary artery disease who were scheduled to undergo CABG and randomly assigned them to undergo the procedure off-pump or on-pump. Patients were enrolled at 79 centers in 19 countries. We assessed quality of life and cognitive function at discharge, at 30 days, and at 1 year and clinical outcomes at 1 year. Results At 1 year, there was no significant difference in the rate of the primary composite outcome between off-pump and on-pump CABG (12.1% and 13.3%, respectively; hazard ratio with off-pump CABG, 0.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.77 to 1.07; P=0.24). The rate of the primary outcome was also similar in the two groups in the period between 31 days and 1 year (hazard ratio, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.55 to 1.13; P=0.19). The rate of repeat coronary revascularization at 1 year was 1.4% in the off-pump group and 0.8% in the on-pump group (hazard ratio, 1.66; 95% CI, 0.95 to 2.89; P=0.07). There were no significant differences between the two groups at 1 year in measures of quality of life or neurocognitive function. Conclusions At 1 year after CABG, there was no significant difference between off-pump and on-pump CABG with respect to the primary composite outcome, the rate of repeat coronary revascularization, quality of life, or neurocognitive function. (Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; CORONARY number, NCT00463294 .).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Angina pectoris, Coronary artery disease, Atheroma, Neurocognitive, Artery, Coronary artery bypass surgery


Background Results of trials and registry studies have shown lower long-term mortality after coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG) than after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) among patients with multivessel disease. These previous analyses did not evaluate PCI with second-generation drug-eluting stents. Methods In an observational registry study, we compared the outcomes in patients with multivessel disease who underwent CABG with the outcomes in those who underwent PCI with the use of everolimus-eluting stents. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. Secondary outcomes were the rates of myocardial infarction, stroke, and repeat revascularization. Propensity-score matching was used to assemble a cohort of patients with similar baseline characteristics. Results Among 34,819 eligible patients, 9223 patients who underwent PCI with everolimus-eluting stents and 9223 who underwent CABG had similar propensity scores and were included in the analyses. At a mean follow-up of 2.9 years, PCI with everolimus-eluting stents, as compared with CABG, was associated with a similar risk of death (3.1% per year and 2.9% per year, respectively; hazard ratio, 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.93 to 1.17; P=0.50), higher risks of myocardial infarction (1.9% per year vs. 1.1% per year; hazard ratio, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.29 to 1.77; P<0.001) and repeat revascularization (7.2% per year vs. 3.1% per year; hazard ratio, 2.35; 95% CI, 2.14 to 2.58; P<0.001), and a lower risk of stroke (0.7% per year vs. 1.0% per year; hazard ratio, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.76; P<0.001). The higher risk of myocardial infarction with PCI than with CABG was not significant among patients with complete revascularization but was significant among those with incomplete revascularization (P=0.02 for interaction). Conclusions In a contemporary clinical-practice registry study, the risk of death associated with PCI with everolimus-eluting stents was similar to that associated with CABG. PCI was associated with a higher risk of myocardial infarction (among patients with incomplete revascularization) and repeat revascularization but a lower risk of stroke. (Funded by Abbott Vascular.).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Coronary artery disease, Cardiology, Percutaneous coronary intervention, Risk, Stroke, Coronary artery bypass surgery


It is unknown if coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) may offer a survival benefit in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in need of multivessel revascularization.

Concepts: Coronary artery bypass surgery


Angina has important implications for patients' quality of life and healthcare utilization. Angina management after acute myocardial infarction (MI) treated with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is unknown.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Angina pectoris, Cardiology, Percutaneous coronary intervention, Atheroma, Coronary artery bypass surgery


Weaning from mechanical ventilation is a frequent nursing activity in critical care. Nature-based sound as a non-pharmacological and nursing intervention effective in other contexts may be an efficient approach to alleviating anxiety, agitation and adverse effects of sedative medication in patients undergoing weaning from mechanical ventilation.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Atherosclerosis, Coronary artery disease, Effect, Effectiveness, Artery, Coronary circulation, Coronary artery bypass surgery


Cardiac surgery is the largest consumer of blood products in medicine; although believed life saving, transfusion carries substantial adverse risks. This study characterizes the relationship between transfusion and risk of major infection after cardiac surgery. In all, 5,158 adults were prospectively enrolled to assess infections after cardiac surgery. The most common procedures were isolated coronary artery bypass graft surgery (31%) and isolated valve surgery (30%); 19% were reoperations. Infections were adjudicated by independent infectious disease experts. Multivariable Cox modeling was used to assess the independent effect of blood and platelet transfusions on major infections within 60 ± 5 days of surgery. Red blood cells (RBC) and platelets were transfused in 48% and 31% of patients, respectively. Each RBC unit transfused was associated with a 29% increase in crude risk of major infection (p < 0.001). Among RBC recipients, the most common infections were pneumonia (3.6%) and bloodstream infections (2%). Risk factors for infection included postoperative RBC units transfused, longer duration of surgery, and transplant or ventricular assist device implantation, in addition to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, and elevated preoperative creatinine. Platelet transfusion decreased the risk of infection (p = 0.02). Greater attention to management practices that limit RBC use, including cell salvage, small priming volumes, vacuum-assisted venous return with rapid autologous priming, and ultrafiltration, and preoperative and intraoperative measures to elevate hematocrit could potentially reduce occurrence of major postoperative infections.

Concepts: Blood, Lung, Red blood cell, Heart, Platelet, Artery, Coronary artery bypass surgery, Blood transfusion