Improving the Results of Heart Bypass Surgery Using New Approaches to Surgery and Medication

2014-08-27 03:16:45 | BioPortfolio


Surgery for blocked arteries in the heart (coronary artery bypass grafting) can be accomplished using veins from the leg sewn onto the heart to provide an alternate path for blood flow, i.e. 'bypassing' the blockages. These veins themselves can block over time. This may result in part simply from the trauma from the surgery, in other words, by removing the vein from the leg and then sewing it to the heart. Another mechanism may be the abnormal metabolic processes within the body responsible for the plaque build-up of the heart arteries in the first place - this may lead to the blockages of the veins used for bypass. In the present era of heart bypass surgery, this incidence of veins blocking remains high despite advances in blood thinners and cholesterol medications. This study is designed to determine whether two new interventions may potentially reduce the incidence of blockages in the veins used for heart bypass surgery. One is a surgical technique significantly reducing the trauma associated with removing the leg vein prior to use as a bypass graft onto the heart. The second intervention is the use of a nutritional supplement before and after surgery which is composed of fish oils. The study will recruit sufficient patients to provide strong and relevant conclusions regarding both study questions. It will be highly applicable also because it will include approximately 1,500 patients from approximately 50 hospitals across many countries. We believe these techniques will result in significantly less vein blockages in patients one year after heart bypass surgery.


Background: Saphenous vein grafts (SVG) remain the most widely used conduit for CABG. However, contemporary patency rates at one-year post CABG remain poor, despite optimal medical therapy. Recent trials (PREVENT IV) demonstrate that up to 45% of all patients have one or more SVG occluded at angiography one year post-CABG; up to 25% of all SVG are occluded at one year post-CABG angiography. Furthermore, patients with at least one SVG occluded had twice the incidence of perioperative MI, and thirteen times the composite endpoint of death, late MI or repeat revascularization at 12-18 months.

The proposed SUPERIOR SVG PATENCY CABG Trial is a prospective, international, multi-centre randomized controlled clinical trial (RCT). It utilizes a factorial design to elucidate the benefits of two interventions, one surgical and the other pharmacological to improve saphenous vein graft patency after coronary artery bypass grafting surgery (CABG):

Surgical Arm: Does a novel atraumatic ("no touch") technique of pedicled saphenous vein graft (SVG) harvesting result in improved angiographic patency and clinical outcomes at 1 year, compared to conventional SVG harvesting techniques, in patients undergoing CABG.

Rationale: A Swedish cardiac surgical centre has published numerous studies demonstrating that harvesting the SVG with a cushion of surrounding fat and without vein graft distension, "no touch" technique, improved surrogate markers of vein preservation in operative specimens. Graft patency was superior in a single small RCT (8.5 year patency: "no touch" 90% vs. conventional 76%, p=0.01, adjusted OR 3.7, 95% CI 1.4-9.6, p=0.007).

Pharmacological Arm: Does N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (fish oil) oral supplementation result in improved angiographic patency and clinical outcomes at 1 year, compared to placebo, in patients undergoing CABG.

Rationale: In vivo studies showed levels of N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA; fish-oils) inversely correlate with the risk of coronary disease. Several large RCTs (more than 40,000 patients in aggregate) performed in diverse cardiovascular populations, have demonstrated moderate mortality benefits. A single RCT from the 90's found that that SVG patency was enhanced with fish oils.

Methods: Each patient will be randomized to a SVG harvested in the conventional fashion (open or endoscopic) or using the "no touch" technique (single-blinded). The pharmacological arm of the factorial design will have patients also randomized to fish-oil or placebo (double-blinded) starting prior to surgery and continuing for 1 year. The primary outcomes (Surgical Arm: proportion of study SVG grafts occluded; Pharmacological Arm: proportion of patients with >1 graft occluded) at 1 year CT angiography (window 11-15 months) will be compared between the treatment and control groups. Secondary endpoints include incidence of 50-99% study SVG stenosis at 1 year, adverse events and perioperative and 1 year clinical events (mortality, non-fatal MI, repeat revascularization).

A sample size of 615 patients/arm will provide adequate statistical power (Surgical Arm, Primary Outcome: study SVG graft occlusion, control event rate = 20%, no-touch event rate = 14%, RRR = 0.30, β = 0.2; Pharmacological Arm, Primary Outcome: patients with >1 graft occlusion, control event rate = 30%, fish oils event rate 22.5%, RRR = 0.25, β= 0.15). The total sample size has been increased 25% to 1538 patients as approximately 20% of recruited patients in angiographic trials fail to undergo follow-up angiography. Study patients will be enrolled over 39 months at 50 centers. Pilot funding has been secured from CIHR-CANNeCTIN to assess feasibility in 50 patients from 6-8 sites. A single interim analysis will be performed following completion of 50% of the CT angiograms, p<0.001.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment


Coronary Artery Disease


No-touch SVG harvest vs conventional SVG harvest technique, Fish oil supplementation vs placebo


Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
M4N 3M5


Not yet recruiting


Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:16:45-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Diseases in persons engaged in cultivating and tilling soil, growing plants, harvesting crops, raising livestock, or otherwise engaged in husbandry and farming. The diseases are not restricted to farmers in the sense of those who perform conventional farm chores: the heading applies also to those engaged in the individual activities named above, as in those only gathering harvest or in those only dusting crops.

Antioxidant; also a post-harvest dip to prevent scald on apples and pears.

Techniques using a laser to cut away and harvest a specific cell or cluster of cells from a tissue section while viewing it under the microscope.

Methods for cultivation of cells, usually on a large-scale, in a closed system for the purpose of producing cells or cellular products to harvest.

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