OBJECTIVE: Little evidence shows whether the radial artery (RA) as third arterial graft provides superior outcomes compared with the use of the bilateral internal thoracic artery (BITA) and saphenous vein (SV) graft in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting. A meta-analysis of propensity score-matched observational studies that compared the long-term outcomes of coronary artery bypass grafting with the use of BITA and the RA (BITA + RA) versus BITA and SV (BITA + SV) was performed.
METHODS: Electronic databases from January 2000 to November 2020 were screened. Studies that reported long-term mortality were analyzed. The primary outcome was long-term overall mortality. A secondary end point was in-hospital/30-day mortality. Pooled hazard ratio with 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated for survival and time-to-event analysis according to a random effect model. Differences were expressed as odds ratio with 95% CI for in-hospital/30-day mortality.
RESULTS: Six propensity score-matched studies that reported on 2500 matched patients (BITA + RA: 1250; BITA + SV: 1250) were identified for comparison. The use of BITA + RA was not statistically associated with early mortality (odds ratio, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.36-2.28; P = .83). The mean follow-up time ranged from 7.5 to 12 years. The pooled analysis of long-term survival revealed a significant difference between the 2 groups favoring BITA + RA treatment (hazard ratio, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.50-0.91; P = .031). The survival rate for BITA + RA versus BITA + SV at 5, 10, and 15 years were: 96.2% versus 94.8%, 88.9% versus 87.4%, and 83% versus 77.9%, respectively (log rank test, P = .02).
CONCLUSIONS: In patients with coronary artery bypass grafting, BITA + RA usage is not associated with higher rates of operative risk and is associated with superior long-term overall survival.