Role of Antiplatelet Therapy in Patients with Severe Coronary Artery Disease Undergoing Coronary Artery Endarterectomy within Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Background: Coronary endarterectomy (CEA) has been introduced to allow revascularization in end-stage coronary artery disease (CAD). After CEA, the injured remnants of the vessel’s media could result in fast neo intimal tissue ingrowth, which require an anti-proliferation agent (antiplatelet therapy (APT). We aimed to review outcomes of patients undergoing CEA within bypass surgery who received either single-APT (SAPT) or dual-APT (DAPT).

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 353 consecutive patients undergoing CEA within isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) in the period 01/2000–07/2019. After surgery, patients received either SAPT (n = 153), or DAPT (n = 200) for six months then lifelong SAPT. Endpoints included early, late survival, and freedom from major-adverse-cardiac and cerebrovascular events (MACCE), which were defined as incidence of stroke, myocardial infarction, need for coronary intervention (PCI or CABG) or death for any cause.

Results:Patients’ mean age was 67 ± 9.3 years; they were predominantly male 88.1%. Both DAPT- and SAPT-groups had the same extent of CAD (mean SYNTAX-Score-II: 34.1 ± 11.6 vs. 34.4 ± 17.2, p = 0.91). Postoperatively, no difference between DAPT- and SAPT-groups was reported in the incidence of low-cardiac-output syndrome (5% vs. 9.8%, p = 0.16), revision for bleeding (5% vs. 6.5% p = 0.64), 30-day mortality (4.5% vs. 5.2%, p = 0.8) or MACCE (7.5% vs. 11.8%, p = 0.19). Imaging follow-up reported significantly higher CEA and total grafts patency (90% vs. 81.5% and 95% vs. 81%, p = 0.017) in DAPT patients. Late outcomes within 97.4 ± 67.4 months show lower incidence of overall mortality (19 vs. 51%, p < 0.001) and MACCE (24.5 vs. 58.2%, p < 0.001) in the DAPT patients when compared with SAPT patients.

Conclusions: Coronary endarterectomy allows revascularization in end-stage CAD when the myocardium is still viable. The use of dual APT after CEA for at least six months seems to improve mid-to-long-term patency rates and survival, and reduced the incidence of major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events.


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