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Arm Artery No Better Than Leg Vein for Heart Bypass, Study Finds

TUESDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Use of an artery from the arm rather than a vein from the leg doesn't lead to better outcomes for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) patients, according to a new study.

U.S. researchers looked at angiographic patency -- which means that the graft is open and unobstructed -- in more than 700 patients who underwent elective first-time CABG. The arm's radial artery was used in 366 patients and the leg's saphenous vein was used in 367 patients.

One year after the procedure, the patency rate in both groups was 89 percent. In addition, there was no difference in the number and types of adverse events, including serious adverse events, according to the report published in the Jan. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Although most clinicians assume that compared with vein grafts, arterial grafts have an improved patency rate, there are little multi-institutional prospective data on radial artery graft versus saphenous vein graft patency," Dr. Steven Goldman, of the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System and the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center in Tucson, and colleagues wrote in a journal news release.

CABG is one of the most common surgeries done in the United States, with more than 163,000 of the procedures performed in 2008 alone, according to background information in the study. The success of the grafts depends on the long-term patency of the arterial and venous grafts.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about CABG.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives, news release, Jan. 11, 2011

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