Background Prior meta-analyses have yielded conflicting results regarding the outcomes of treatment of stable coronary artery disease (CAD) with initial percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) vs medical therapy. However, most of the studies in prior systematic reviews used balloon angioplasty as well as medical therapies that do not reflect current interventional or medical practices. We therefore performed a meta-analysis of all randomized clinical trials comparing initial coronary stent implantation with medical therapy to determine the effect on death, nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), unplanned revascularization, and persistent angina.
Methods Prospective randomized trials were identified by searches of the MEDLINE database from 1970 to September 2011. Trials in which stents were used in less than 50% of PCI procedures were excluded. Data were extracted from each study, and summary odds ratios (ORs) were obtained using a random effects model.
Results Eight trials enrolling 7229 patients were identified. Three trials enrolled stable patients after MI, whereas 5 studies enrolled patients with stable angina and/or ischemia on stress testing. Mean weighted follow-up was 4.3 years. The respective event rates for death with stent implantation and medical therapy were 8.9% and 9.1% (OR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.84-1.16); for nonfatal MI, 8.9% and 8.1% (OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.93-1.34); for unplanned revascularization, 21.4% and 30.7% (OR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.57-1.06); and for persistent angina, 29% and 33% (OR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.60-1.05).
Conclusion Initial stent implantation for stable CAD shows no evidence of benefit compared with initial medical therapy for prevention of death, nonfatal MI, unplanned revascularization, or angina.