Are waiting times for coronary artery bypass graft surgery longer than they should be? Implications of the NICE guidelines for coronary artery stents

Br J Cardiol (Acute Interv Cardiol) 2002;9(1):AIC 13–AIC 17 Leave a comment
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The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that some patients on the routine waiting list for coronary artery bypass (CABG) surgery are suitable for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), as suggested in the NICE appraisal of coronary artery stents. A retrospective analysis was performed of 100 consecutive patients who had recently undergone CABG surgery from the routine waiting list in a tertiary cardiothoracic centre. The coronary angiograms of these patients were reviewed by an interventional cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon to assess patients’ potential suitability for PCI.
The mean total waiting time from being listed for angiography to having CABG surgery was 18.7 months. The mean delay from angiography to CABG surgery was 13.5 months. Of the 100-patient cohort, 70 were referred by a non-interventional cardiologist and 30 by an interventionalist (ratio 2.3:1). Fifteen patients were deemed potentially suitable for PCI after angiographic review. Of these, 13 (87%) were referred by a non-interventional cardiologist without angiographic review by an interventional specialist. The majority (86%) of the 15 patients deemed potentially suitable for PCI had single or double vessel coronary artery disease, in contrast to the population as a whole (38%).
These data suggest (a) that current CABG waiting lists could be reduced by up to 15% if coronary angiograms were reviewed by an interventional cardiologist in addition to a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon and (b) that referral arrangements should be adopted to facilitate such a review. The clinical implications of these data could be fully assessed by rolling out prospectively to other groups in the Coronary Heart Disease Collaborative.