Burden of medical co-morbidities and benefit from surgical revascularization in patients with ischaemic cardiomyopathy

on behalf of the STICH Trial Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Aims: The landmark STICH trial found that surgical revascularization compared to medical therapy alone improved survival in patients with heart failure (HF) of ischaemic aetiology and an ejection fraction (EF) ≤ 35%. However, the interaction between the burden of medical co-morbidities and the benefit from surgical revascularization has not been previously described in patients with ischaemic cardiomyopathy. Methods and results: The STICH trial (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00023595) enrolled patients ≥ 18 years of age with coronary artery disease amenable to coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and an EF ≤ 35%. Eligible participants were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive medical therapy (MED) (n = 602) or MED/CABG (n = 610). A modified Charlson co-morbidity index (CCI) based on the availability of data and study definitions was calculated by summing the weighted points for all co-morbid conditions. Patients were divided into mild/moderate (CCI 1–4) and severe (CCI ≥ 5) co-morbidity. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate the association between CCI and outcomes and the interaction between severity of co-morbidity and treatment effect. The study population included 349 patients (29%) with a mild/moderate CCI score and 863 patients (71%) with a severe CCI score. Patients with a severe CCI score had greater functional limitations based on 6-min walk test and impairments in health-related quality of life as assessed by the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire. A total of 161 patients (Kaplan–Meier rate = 50%) with a mild/moderate CCI score and 579 patients (Kaplan–Meier rate = 69%) with a severe CCI score died over a median follow-up of 9.8 years. After adjusting for baseline confounders, patients with a severe CCI score were at higher risk for all-cause mortality (hazard ratio 1.44, 95% confidence interval 1.19–1.74; P < 0.001). There was no interaction between CCI score and treatment effect on survival (P = 0.756). Conclusions: More than 70% of patients had a severe burden of medical co-morbidities at baseline, which was independently associated with increased risk of death. There was not a differential benefit of surgical revascularization with respect to survival based on severity of co-morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Heart Failure
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Coronary artery bypass grafting
  • Heart failure
  • Ischaemic cardiomyopathy
  • Multimorbidity
  • Reduced ejection fraction
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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