Fractional flow reserve to guide surgical coronary revascularization
Coronary angiography has traditionally been used as the final diagnostic tool in the evaluation of coronary artery disease (CAD). However, conventional angiography identifies anatomically obstructive coronary disease, but it is limited in its ability to identify hemodynamically significant lesions. The emergence of fractional flow reserve (FFR) technology, in conjunction with angiography, offers a functional, as well as anatomic, assessment of epicardial coronary obstructions. Several pivotal studies have demonstrated that FFR-guided coronary revascularization is a safe and effective in patients with single and multivessel CAD. There are emerging data to suggest that FFR may also play an integral role in planning surgical revascularization and in the evaluation of post-coronary artery bypass patients and their graft patency. This review will explore the physiologic underpinnings of FFR methodology, its clinical value and limitations, and its applications in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery.