A survey of current clinical practice was carried out among the 84 consultant cardiac surgeons currently performing coronary artery bypass surgery in the United Kingdom. The 80 surgeons who returned the questionnaire performed an estimated total of 17,100 coronary artery bypass graft operations in 1987, a mean case load of 214 operations each. Sixty two of the 80 surgeons regarded the internal mammary artery as the graft conduit of choice, and seven preferred the saphenous vein. The internal mammary artery was used in 73% of bypass grafts to the left anterior descending coronary artery but in only 4% of grafts to the circumflex and right coronary systems. Contraindications to the use of the internal mammary artery included advanced age of the patient (51 surgeons), insufficient flow through the internal mammary artery (49), and endarterectomy (35). Seventy four of the 80 surgeons considered intraoperative damage to the saphenous vein to be a possible cause of vein graft failure, but there was no agreement about how it should be reduced. All surgeons advocated pharmacological measures to enhance graft patency. Dipyridamole and aspirin constituted the most popular regimen (58 surgeons), though only 28 started dipyridamole preoperatively. Warfarin was prescribed postoperatively on occasion by 22 surgeons, but 14 of these used it only after endarterectomy.
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