Research Program Studies Treatment to Improve Longevity of Cardiac Surgery Procedure - Adventist HealthCare

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News Release

Media Contact: Tom Grant

Published on September 02, 2003

Press Release

Research Program Studies Treatment to Improve Longevity of Cardiac Surgery Procedure

Special Treatment Could Benefit Tens of Thousands of Heart Patients

Takoma Park, MD - Doctors at Washington Adventist Hospital are participating in a clinical research trial designed to help improve the longevity of bypass grafts following coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Each year some 500,000 heart bypass procedures for life-threatening cardiovascular disease are performed in the United States. While these procedures can effectively restore blood flow to a diseased heart, an estimated 30 to 50 percent of bypass grafts eventually become blocked, or fail.

The study, known as the Prevent IV trial, is testing the effectiveness of a solution used to immerse the bypass grafts before they are placed in the heart. The solution, known as E2F Decoy, is believed to prevent a thickening of the interior vessel lining, which can lead to an aggressive form of accelerated atherosclerosis and cause the grafts to fail after they are implanted in the heart.

"Some initial results show that this treatment (E2F Decoy) may have the ability to prevent bypass graft failure in heart surgery and improve the long-term effectiveness of the CABG procedure for heart patients," said Thomas Militano, M.D., a cardio-thoracic surgeon who is the lead investigator at Washington Adventist Hospital. "Given the large number of CABG procedures performed in the United States, this has the potential to benefit tens of thousands of patients."

The CABG surgical procedure is performed to restore blood flow to the heart when it has been blocked or reduced by disease. Bypass surgery involves routing (or "bypassing") the blood around clogged arteries to improve the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.

During the surgery, a segment of a patient's healthy blood vessel - usually a vein from a leg - is harvested and attached (or "grafted") from the aorta to the coronary artery at a point beyond the blockage. In some cases the graft itself becomes clogged, requiring a repeat surgical procedure, and currently there is no FDA-approved treatment to prevent graft failure.

During the Prevent IV study, patients undergoing CABG surgery receive grafts that have been treated with the E2F Decoy solution or a placebo (saline solution).

The clinical trial is randomized and double-blind, which means that patients will receive either E2F Decoy or the placebo solution. Neither the participant nor the physician know which treatment is being used.

Results will compare whether the E2F Decoy solution effectively prevented the implanted vein graft from narrowing or clogging after one year. Washington Adventist Hospital is one of approximately 100 leading medical centers across the country participating in this clinical trial.

Washington Adventist Hospital is a 317-bed hospital that provides a number of health care services for the community. In addition to cardiology and cardiac surgery, the hospital offers mental health services, radiation oncology, maternity services, emergency medical care, neurology and prevention-oriented health programs for the community. The hospital employs approximately 1,700 health care professionals and is part of the Adventist HealthCare system.

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