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AIMS: Treatment of saphenous vein graft (SVG) disease is still a matter of debate given the uncertainty of the available conflicting data. Our aim was to assess, by means of a meta-analytic approach, the risk/benefit profile of drug eluting stents (DES) versus bare metal stents (BMS) in the treatment of SVG disease. METHODS AND RESULTS: A search of relevant studies in several databases was performed. The endpoints of interest such as: major adverse events (MAE) (the combination of overall death and non-fatal myocardial infarction [AMI]), target vessel revascularisation (TVR), and target lesion revascularisation (TLR) have been calculated in-hospital and at the longest follow-up. Single endpoints and the rate of stent thrombosis (ST) were also assessed. Three randomised controlled trials and 15 registry studies were appraised, totalling 3,294 patients. During hospitalisation, there was no difference in the risk of MAE, overall death, AMI and TVR. No data were available to calculate the TLR rate. At a mean follow-up of 19.8 months, no significant differences were found in the risk of MAE and AMI. BMS were associated with a trend towards a higher risk of overall death (OR 1.32 [1,00-1.74], p=0.05, number needed to treat [NNT]=55). DES showed superiority in terms of TVR (OR 1.86 [1.33-2.61], p=0.0003, NNT=16), and TLR (OR 1.77 [1.27-2.48], p<0.0001, NNT=25). According to pre-specified subgroup analyses, these effects seem less evident at the long-term follow-up. DES were not associated with an increased risk of ST. CONCLUSIONS: Use of DES in SVG substantially reduces both TVR and TLR. These data also demonstrate that using DES in SVG is safe and contradict previous reports of potential risks.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





527 - 536


Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary, Coronary Artery Bypass, Drug-Eluting Stents, Follow-Up Studies, Graft Occlusion, Vascular, Humans, Saphenous Vein, Stents