Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Are arterial grafts superior to vein grafts for revascularisation of the right coronary system? A systematic review
  1. Thanos Athanasiou1,
  2. Hutan Ashrafian1,
  3. Dayal Mukherjee1,
  4. Leanne Harling1,
  5. Koji Okabayashi1,2
  1. 1Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Surgery, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Thanos Athanasiou Department of Surgery and Cancer and Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Imperial College London, 10th Floor Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (QEQM) Building, St. Mary’s Hospital Campus, Praed Street, London W2 1NY, UK; t.athanasiou{at}


Background The optimal conduit choice in revascularisation of the right coronary system (RCA) remains uncertain. This study aims to identify if arterial grafts are superior to saphenous vein (SV) grafts and whether graft failure rates vary between proximal and distal RCA anastomoses.

Methods 29 studies identified by systematic review were analysed for study quality and length of follow-up using Bayesian hierarchical random effects modelling. Heterogeneity was assessed and sensitivity analysis performed. Primary endpoints were graft patency at early, mid and late-term follow-up when compared with SV grafts.

Results There was no difference in early failure of radial artery (RA) or right gastroepiploic artery grafts when compared with SV (OR 0.82, 95% CI (0.14 to 2.68) and OR 1.19 (0.08 to 4.66), respectively). However, mid-term ORs based on observational study data demonstrated increased graft failure with right gastroepiploic artery and right internal thoracic artery compared with SV (OR 2.76 (1.26 to 5.48) and OR 2.07 (0.96 to 3.98), respectively), although right internal thoracic artery did not achieve statistical significance. No significant difference was observed in late graft failure for RA compared with SV (OR 0.47 (0.09 to 1.41)) without study-type disparity. However, simplified statistical pooling revealed significantly lower graft failure was observed with RA grafts to the proximal RCA when compared with SV (χ2 6.15, p=0.01).

Conclusions Arterial grafts do not demonstrate a beneficial reduction of angiographic graft failure when compared with SV grafts on the RCA with the exception of RA to the proximal RCA. Future research should focus on clinical and patient-reported endpoints to identify any benefits of RCA arterial revascularisation.

  • Cardiac Surgery
  • Coronary Artery Disease

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.