Thorac cardiovasc Surg 1999; 47(6): 376-380
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1013177
Original Cardiovascular

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Cardiac Surgery in Patients with Previous Carcinoma of the Breast and Mediastinal Irradiation: Is the Internal Thoracic Artery Graft Obsolete?

B. Gansera1 , A. Haschemi1 , I. Angelis1 , W. Eichinger1 , M. Breuer1 , E. Keiditsch2 , B. M. Kemkes1
  • 1Department of Cardiac Surgery, City Hospital München-Bogenhausen, München, Germany
  • 2Institute of Pathology, City Hospital München-Bogenhausen, München, Germany
Further Information

Publication History


Publication Date:
19 March 2008 (online)


Background: The increasing number of patients of more advanced age undergoing cardiac surgery means the number of those with previous curative (relapse free) mastectomy and irradiation of the chest is also increasing. A higher incidence of postoperative complications such as sternal infection in these patients is considered possible. Furthermore the question of whether mediastinal irradiation leads to a relevant internal thoracic artery (ITA) gaft damage remains unclear. In this context the benefit of arterial revascularization (CABG) using one or both ITAs is not sufficiently proven by data available from clinical studies. Method: 70 patients (49 - 85 years) with previous mastectomy or Hodgkin/non-Hodgkin's disease and mediastinal irradiation underwent CABG (n = 59) or an aortic valve replacement (AVR, n = 11). 20 patients received bilateral internal thoracic artery grafts, 34 a single internal thoracic artery graft, and in 16 patients an internal thoracic artery was not used. Perioperative data and data concerning postoperative complications such as mortality, myocardial infarction, and sternal infection or refixation was gathered and compared with all other patients receiving CABG (n = 5102). An histological investigation of ITA segments was done in 12 patients. Results: There was no significant enhancement of the perioperative risk in comparison with other patients of a corresponding age group. Internal thoracic artery damage induced by irradiation was not present. There was no increased incidence of sternal instability requiring refixation observed. Conclusion: In the patient cohort investigated there is in general no need for restrictive use of the ITA in CABG.