Audit and quality control in angioplasty in Europe: procedural results of the AQUA Study 1997: assessment of 250 randomly selected coronary interventions performed in 25 centres of five European countries. AQUA Study Group, Nucleus Clinical Issues, Working Group Coronary Circulation, of the European Society of Cardiology

Eur Heart J. 1999 Sep;20(17):1261-70. doi: 10.1053/euhj.1998.1307.


Aims: Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) has become the most widely used major intervention in western medicine. However, there is disparate use of this technique among different European countries and the U.S.A. In an attempt at quality assurance, the working group Coronary Circulation of the European Society of Cardiology has carried out a study on appropriateness, necessity, and performance of PTCA in Europe. The present paper reports on the procedural results of this survey.

Methods: In a multicentre case-control study in Europe, 750 patients (544 men, 206 women) with documented vascular disease of the From the countries participating in the European Registry of Coronary Intervention, the three countries with the highest absolute PTCA volume (Germany, France, and the United Kingdom) and two randomly selected countries (Belgium and Italy) were chosen for investigation. In these countries, five centres were selected at random according to the following criteria: one centre with >1000, three centres with 300-1000, and one centre with <300 procedures per year. In each of these, 10 cases from the first half of 1997 were randomly identified and all pertinent documentation was collected.

Results: In 250 cases, 325 stenoses were addressed as target lesions. Single vessel disease was present in 41%. History included stable angina in 49%, unstable angina in 32%, atypical chest pain in 6%, no anginal pain in 12%, and acute/subacute myocardial infarction in 13%. The percentage of patients with either positive stress test and/or unstable angina, acute/subacute infarction, previous infarction (within 6 months) or coronary revascularization amounted to 98%. Single vessel intervention accounted for 90%. In 41% balloon-only angioplasty was performed and in 54% at least one stent was implanted with considerable variation among countries. The use of other new devices amounted to only 3%. In 92%, the operators documented a successful procedure. Major complications (myocardial infarction, emergency bypass surgery, or death) were found in 4.8%.

Conclusions: Based on scrutinized hospital and operator data, the present study revealed a satisfactorily high percentage of justifiable indications, an adequate procedural success rate, and an acceptably low complication rate. Further analysis by an expert panel will address appropriateness, necessity, and procedural performance of the individual cases.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary* / adverse effects
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary* / economics
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary* / statistics & numerical data
  • Coronary Disease / therapy*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality Control
  • Stents
  • Treatment Outcome