Stents Lose In Comparisons With Surgery And Medical Therapy Reply

Despite the enormous increase in the use of stents in recent decades, there is little or no good evidence comparing their use to the alternatives of CABG surgery or optimal medical therapy in patients also eligible for these strategies. Now two new meta-analyses published in JAMA Internal Medicine provide new evidence that the alternatives to PCI remain attractive and that some of the growth in PCI may have been unwarranted.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

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New Insights Into Surgery Versus Stents For Diabetics With Multivessel Disease Reply

Last year the large NHLBI FREEDOM trial demonstrated that bypass surgery was superior to PCI when treating diabetic patients who have multivessel coronary disease. CABG resulted in significant reductions in death and MI, but this was offset slightly by a higher rate of stroke in the CABG group. Now a new report from FREEDOM published in JAMA suggests that the reduction in important clinical endpoints may not translate into large differences in health status and quality of life.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

 

 

Can Inflating A Blood Pressure Cuff Improve Outcomes Following Bypass Surgery? Reply

http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryhusten/2013/08/15/can-inflating-a-blood-pressure-cuff-improve-outcomes-following-bypass-surgery/

 

For several decades cardiologists have been intrigued by the concept of ischemic preconditioning. A small body of research has consistently found that brief episodes of ischemia (in which reduced blood flow results in damage to tissue) appeared to somehow prepare the body to better handle a major episode of ischemia. Now a new study from Germany published in the Lancet holds out the promise that deliberate ischemic preconditioning prior to bypass surgery might prevent ischemic injury caused by the surgery and may even improve long-term survival. But the investigators themselves say that the results need to be confirmed in a larger study.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Two Trials Explore On-Pump Versus Off-Pump Bypass Surgery Reply

Two large trials presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in San Francisco and published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine provide important new information about the ongoing debate over whether CABG should be performed with or without cardiopulmonary bypass. The combined results suggest that both techniques can be effective, and that surgeons should choose the technique with which they are most familiar and comfortable.

Previous 30-days results from CORONARY (CABG Off or On Pump Revascularization Study), which randomized 4,752 patients to on-pump or off-pump CABG, showed no significant difference in the primary outcome (death, MI, stroke, or new renal failure requiring dialysis) between the two groups. However, patients in the off-pump group required more repeat revascularization procedures, though they had lower rates of bleeding, acute kidney injury, and respiratory complications.

Now, one-year results from CORONARY have found no significant difference in the primary outcome between the groups at 1 year (12.1% in the off-pump group versus 13.3% in the on-pump group (HR 0.91, CI 0.77-1.07, p=0.24). There were also no significant differences in the individual components of the endpoint. In addition, there were no significant differences in recurrent angina (1% versus 0.9%) or the need for repeat revascularization (1.4% versus 0.8%).

A quality of life substudy found no differences between the two groups at any time point in the first year. A neurocognitive substudy found less deterioration in one assessment of neurocognitive function in the off-pump group at discharge but found no significant differences at 30 days or at 1 year. There were no differences at any time between the two groups in two other tests of neurocognitive function.

“The CORONARY study shows that off-pump bypass is just as good as on-pump. Therefore, surgeons should tailor their surgical approach to their technical expertise and expected technical difficulty,” said Andre Lamy, lead author of the study, in an ACC press release.

In the GOCABE (German Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting in Elderly Patients) study, 2,539 patients 75 years of age or older were randomized to on-pump or off-pump CABG. The primary endpoint was the composite of death, stroke, MI, repeat revascularization, or new renal-replacement therapy at 30 days and one year.

At 30 days there was no significant difference in the primary endpoint: 7.8% for the off-pump group versus 8.2% for the on-pump group (OR 0.95, CI 0.71-1.28, p=0.74). However, there were more repeat revascularizations in the off-pump group at 30 days: 1.3% versus 0.4%, OR 2.42, CI 1.03-5.72, p=0.04. At one year there were no significant differences between the groups in the composite endpoint (13.1% versus 14%, HR 0.93, CI 0.76-1.16, p=0.48) or in any of the individual components of the composite endpoint.

The authors write that their trial “does not support the assumption that off-pump CABG can improve the early outcome in high-risk patients.”

During the discussion section lead investigators for both studies, Anno Diegeler for GOCABE and Andre Lamy for CORONARY, emphasized that their results depended on having expert surgeons highly qualified in both techniques.

Choice of the technique, said Diegeler, should depend on clinical characteristics, patient choice, and surgeon experience.

Chris Cannon, a panel discussant, asked the question:”why would you want to do off-pump since it’s no better and it’s harder to do?” At the ACC news conference, Mark Davies said that “these trials may temper our enthusiasm for off-pump surgery.” In the US, with the advent of publicly reported STS (Society for Thoracic Surgeons) scores for individual hospitals and amateurs, there will no room for amateurs. “If you’re an amateur at it you should give it up.” Neil Kleiman had a recommendation: “if you’re going to do it you damn well better be good at it… there’s no room for sloppiness.”

 

Are Most People With Complex Coronary Disease Getting The Best Treatment? 1

angiogram

The relative value of PCI (stents) and bypass surgery for the treatment of people with blocked coronary arteries has been a topic of intense interest and debate for more than a generation now. Over time, the less invasive and more patient-friendly (and less scary) PCI has become the more popular procedure, but the surgeons (who perform bypass surgery) and cardiologists (who perform the less invasive PCI) have argued furiously about which procedure is safest and will deliver the most benefit in specific patient populations. In general, the most complex cases require the more thorough revascularization provided by surgery, while the more simple cases do well with PCI and can therefore avoid the trauma of surgery. But the specific criteria have remained murky, and interventional cardiologists have aggressively sought to take on increasingly more complex cases.

Now, long term results from a highly influential trial comparing the two procedures offer what is likely the most definitive solution we are likely to have for a very long time. Five year results from the SYNTAX trial have now been published in the Lancet.

Here’s some of the perspective on this study from two very savvy cardiologists, Rick Lange and L. David Hillis. (These comments are extracted from their original publication in CardioExchange. Note that I work on CardioExchange, which is published by the New England Journal of Medicine.)

…The “bottom line” conclusions are:

  1. CABG should remain the standard of care for patients with complex lesions…
  2. For patients with 3-vessel disease considered to be less complex… PCI is an acceptable alternative.
  3. All the data from patients with complex multivessel CAD should be reviewed and discussed by a cardiac surgeon and an interventional cardiologist, after which consensus on optimal treatment can be reached.

But Lange and Hillis, while they seem to largely agree with the study findings, also cast doubt on whether most physicians are likely to pay attention to the study details. They wonder whether most hospitals actually live up to the standards in the study, which requires, for each patient, a review of each patient by the multidisciplinary heart team, and the calculation of a complex SYNTAX score to establish the precise degree of risk.

Okay, let’s be honest….

  1. In your hospital, in what percentage of patients with left main or 3 vessel CAD are all the data systematically reviewed and discussed by a “Heart Team”?
  2. Do you calculate SYNTAX on all patients with left main or 3 vessel disease, or do you usually just “guestimate” lesion complexity?

If Lange and Hillis’s suspicions are correct, many people with complex coronary lesions are not receiving the best possible care. Hmmm.

CABG Highly Cost Effective In Diabetics With Multivessel Disease Reply

In November the main results of the FREEDOM trial showed that diabetics with multivessel disease do better with CABG than PCI. Now the findings of the trial’s cost-effectiveness study, published online in Circulation, demonstrate that CABG is also highly cost-effective when compared with PCI.

Elizabeth Magnuson and colleagues  found that although CABG initially cost nearly $9,000 more than PCI ($34,467 versus $25,845), over the long term it was more cost effective. At five years, greater follow-up costs in the PCI group, in large part due to a greater number of  repeat revascularization procedures, reduced the difference so that CABG cost only $3,600 more than PCI. The researchers calculated that CABG had a lifetime cost-effectiveness of $8,132 per QALY (quality-adjusted life-year) gained, which is considered highly cost effective. The finding was consistent across a broad range of assumptions.

The authors concluded “that CABG provides not only better long-term clinical outcomes than DES-PCI but that these benefits are achieved at an overall cost that represents an attractive use of societal health care resources. These findings suggest that existing guidelines that recommend CABG for diabetic patients with multivessel CAD remain appropriate in current practice and may provide additional support for strengthening those recommendations.”

“With great concerns about escalating healthcare costs, it’s very important when setting policy to understand the benefits gained from additional expenditures over the long run,” said Magnuson, in an AHA press release. “This is especially true in cardiovascular disease where many interventions tend to be very costly up front.”