Objectives. To determine the potential of lipid-lowering therapy to reduce saphenous vein graft obstruction, we retrospectively studied the association between graft obstruction and serum cholesterol levels. Background. Atherosclerosis is the major cause of vein graft obstruction. Approximately 50% of grafts are occluded by 10 years after operation. It remains to be established whether lipid control affects long-term graft survival. Methods. We carried out a retrospective review of all 284 patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass graft surgery at Juntendo University Hospital between 1976 and 1991 and met the following additional criteria: at least one saphenous vein graft, repeat coronary arteriography at some point after coronary artery bypass graft surgery and a serum cholesterol level ≥200 mg/dl before operation. Saphenous vein graft obstruction rates were compared among three groups classified by serum cholesterol levels at follow-up arteriography: group I <200 mg/dl; group II 200 to 239 mg/dl; group III ≥240 mg/dl. A vein graft was considered obstructed if it was narrowed by ≥70%. Results. In group I, 88% of grafts were not obstructed 7 years after operation. The respective rates were 61% in group II and 57% in group III (p < 0.005). This relation was true for vein grafts to the left anterior descending and other coronary arteries. Conclusions. Lower serum cholesterol levels are associated with lower rates of vein graft obstruction for up to 7 years. This suggests that cholesterol-lowering therapy may improve long-term saphenous vein graft survival after coronary artery bypass surgery.
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The occurrence of graft atherosclerosis is related to the plasma lipoprotein levels. Campeau et al. (3) demonstrated that the high plasma levels of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) and low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) were associated with the appearance of new disease in both saphenous vein grafts and From the Division of Cardiologya nd Cardio-ThoracicS urgery, Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan; and *Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic, Rochester,M innesota.T his studyw as supported in part by a grant from the Japan-North America MedicalE xchangeF oundation,T okyo,J apan. Manuscript receivedF ebruary2 3, 1994;r evisedm anuscriptr eceivedA ugust 8, 1994, acceptedA ugust 11, 1994.