OBJECTIVE--To compare differences in early mortality and morbidity in patients receiving a single internal mammary artery graft (SIMA) with those receiving bilateral internal mammary artery grafts (BIMA) with a free right internal mammary artery (RIMA). DESIGN--Retrospective analysis of 150 patients undergoing BIMA grafting between 1989-1992 who were carefully matched with 150 patients undergoing SIMA grafting between 1987-1992 for known cardiovascular risk factors, extent of coronary disease, left ventricular function, and number of coronary grafts. Operative variables noted included aortic cross clamp time and bypass time. Postoperative cardiac, respiratory, and wound complications were also noted. RESULTS--Operative mortality was 2% in the SIMA group and 1.3% in the BIMA group (NS). Other than the prevalence of ventricular arrhythmias (P = 0.025), which were more common in the BIMA group, there were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of postoperative morbidity. At median (interquartile range) follow up of 27.94(0.86) and 23.94(0.74) months for the SIMA and BIMA groups respectively there were no deaths. 87% of the SIMA group and 91% of the BIMA group were free of symptoms at follow up. CONCLUSIONS--The earlier fears regarding increased early mortality and morbidity after BIMA surgery were not confirmed by this study. All patients receiving both mammary arteries had a free rather than pedicle right internal mammary graft. The early mortality and morbidity reported here compares favourably with previous reports on the use of a pedicle graft.
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