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Systematic Review: The Comparative Effectiveness of Percutaneous Coronary Interventions and Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

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Background: The comparative effectiveness of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for patients in whom both procedures are feasible remains poorly understood.

Purpose: To compare the effectiveness of PCI and CABG in patients for whom coronary revascularization is clinically indicated.

Data Sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases (1966-2006); conference proceedings; and bibliographies of retrieved articles.

Study Selection: Randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) reported in any language that compared clinical outcomes of PCI with those of CABG, and selected observational studies.

Data Extraction: Information was extracted on study design, sample characteristics, interventions, and clinical outcomes.

Data Synthesis: We identified 23 RCTs in which 5019 patients were randomly assigned to PCI and 4944 patients were randomly assigned to CABG. The difference in survival after PCI or CABG was less than 1% over 10 years of follow-up. Survival did not differ between PCI and CABG for patients with diabetes in the 6 trials that reported on this subgroup. Procedural strokes were more common after CABG than after PCI (1.2% vs. 0.6%; risk difference, 0.6%; P = 0.002). Angina relief was greater after CABG than after PCI, with risk differences ranging from 5% to 8% at 1 to 5 years (P

Limitations: The RCTs were conducted in leading centers in selected patients. The authors could not assess whether comparative outcomes vary according to clinical factors, such as extent of coronary disease, ejection fraction, or previous procedures. Only 1 small trial used drug-eluting stents.

Conclusion: Compared with PCI, CABG was more effective in relieving angina and led to fewer repeated revascularizations but had a higher risk for procedural stroke. Survival to 10 years was similar for both procedures.

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