A New Guide for Revascularizing Patients With CAD

In the December 6, 2011 Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) and the American Heart Association (AHA) published guidelines on the management of patients undergoing CABG, one of the most common operations performed in the United States. These guidelines were released at the same time that the ACCF and AHA published recommendations for PCI. According to L. David Hillis, MD, FACP, chair of the ACCF/AHA guidelines committee for CABG, the landscape regarding when surgeons should perform CABG or PCI has been continually changing, particularly in the past 5 to 10 years. “Several recent investigations have shown that PCI and CABG have comparable outcomes when used in patients with certain coronary arterial anatomic features,” he says. “The last guidelines were published in 2004, but clinical trials have continued to improve our understanding of how to optimize the management of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).” A Collaborative Approach to Determine Revascularization Through a collaboration of two writing committees, the ACCF/AHA guideline update contains the most extensive examination of CABG and PCI use for coronary revascularization. “While one committee was re-writing the CABG guidelines, a separate committee was revising the PCI guidelines,” explains Dr. Hillis. “Our goal was then to develop a consensus between cardiologists and surgeons over patient selection for these two procedures. Busy practitioners have historically been challenged when deciding on which patients should undergo revascularization rather than being treated medically, and whether revascularization should be accomplished with CABG or PCI.” Dr. Hillis says a section of the guidelines has been established to address questions that clinicians may have when deciding...