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OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to describe the potential of 18F-sodium fluoride (18F-NaF) positron emission tomography (PET) to identify graft vasculopathy and to investigate the influence of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery on native coronary artery disease activity and progression. BACKGROUND: As well as developing graft vasculopathy, CABGs have been proposed to accelerate native coronary atherosclerosis. METHODS: Patients with established coronary artery disease underwent baseline 18F-NaF PET, coronary artery calcium scoring, coronary computed tomographic angiography, and 1-year repeat coronary artery calcium scoring. Whole-vessel coronary microcalcification activity (CMA) on 18F-NaF PET and change in calcium scores were quantified in patients with and without CABG surgery. RESULTS: Among 293 participants (mean age 65 ± 9 years, 84% men), 48 (16%) underwent CABG surgery 2.7 years [IQR: 1.4-10.4 years] previously. Although all arterial and the majority (120 of 128 [94%]) of vein grafts showed no 18F-NaF uptake, 8 saphenous vein grafts in 7 subjects had detectable CMA. Bypassed native coronary arteries had 3 times higher CMA values (2.1 [IQR: 0.4-7.5] vs 0.6 [IQR: 0-2.7]; P < 0.001) and greater progression of 1-year calcium scores (118 Agatston unit [IQR: 48-194 Agatston unit] vs 69 [IQR: 21-142 Agatston unit]; P = 0.01) compared with patients who had not undergone CABG, an effect confined largely to native coronary plaques proximal to the graft anastomosis. In sensitivity analysis, bypassed native coronary arteries had higher CMA (2.0 [IQR: 0.4-7.5] vs 0.8 [IQR: 0.3-3.2]; P < 0.001) and faster disease progression (24% [IQR: 16%-43%] vs 8% [IQR: 0%-24%]; P = 0.002) than matched patients (n = 48) with comparable burdens of coronary artery disease and cardiovascular comorbidities in the absence of bypass grafting. CONCLUSIONS: Native coronary arteries that have been bypassed demonstrate increased disease activity and more rapid disease progression than nonbypassed arteries, an observation that appears independent of baseline atherosclerotic plaque burden. Microcalcification activity is not a dominant feature of graft vasculopathy.

Original publication




Journal article


Jacc cardiovasc imaging

Publication Date





875 - 887


(18)F-NaF, CABG, PET/CT, coronary artery bypass graft, coronary artery disease, Aged, Calcinosis, Calcium, Coronary Angiography, Coronary Artery Disease, Disease Progression, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Plaque, Atherosclerotic, Predictive Value of Tests, Sodium Fluoride