Long-term survival benefit for coronary artery bypass grafting surgery in ischemic cardiomyopathy

The Surgical Treatment for Ischemic Heart Failure (STICH) trial asked the important question whether coronary artery bypass grafting surgery (CABG) in patients with severe ischemic cardiomyopathy would provide a survival advantage over contemporary medical therapy alone. Reporting 5-year data in 2011, the study reported no significant difference but did demonstrate a tantalizing divergence in survival graphs between 2 and 5 years, which appeared to be increasing with time.  In an extension to the study, 10 year follow-up data is reported.  Out of the original 1212 patients in the study, data was available on 98% of the cohort at long-term follow-up.  Over this long time period the primary outcome of death from any cause occurred in 58.9% in the CABG group and in 66.1% in the medical-therapy group (HR with CABG vs. medical therapy, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.97; P=0.02).  Significant reductions were also seen in cardiovascular death (P=0.006) and hospitalizations for cardiovascular causes (P<0.001) in the CABG group. The overall number needed to treat to prevent 1 death was 14, equating to an overall 16% lower chance of cardiovascular death during the study period and an increase in longevity of approximately 18 months. The effect was consistent across all important sub-group analyses.


In patients with an ischemic cardiomyopathy, revascularization with CABG, when combined with optimal medical therapy confers a long-term survival benefit and a reduction in hospital admissions for cardiovascular causes.  These advantages are not realized immediately, perhaps due to countervailing perioperative risk, but appear sustained to 10 years.

Velazquez EJ, Lee KL, Jones RH, Al-Khalidi HR, Hill JA, Panza JA, Michler RE, Bonow RO, Doenst T, Petrie MC, Oh JK, She L, Moore VL, Desvigne-Nickens P, Sopko G, Rouleau JL; STICHES Investigators. Coronary-Artery Bypass Surgery in Patients with Ischemic Cardiomyopathy. N Engl J Med. 2016 Apr 3. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors: James M. McCabe, MD and Steven M. Bradley

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