BACKGROUND: The EPISTENT trial reported improved early outcomes with routine use of abciximab after coronary stenting. Increasing use of stents means that routine abciximab adds significantly to costs of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). This paper reports the results of a protocol encouraging restriction of abciximab therapy to high-risk patients only. METHODS: Data were collected prospectively over a 34-month period for patients undergoing PCI with stenting. In addition to those who fulfilled criteria for inclusion in the EPISTENT trial, patients treated in the setting of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) were studied. Demographic data, procedural details and early clinical outcomes were recorded. RESULTS: Of 808 patients studied, 601 fulfilled EPISTENT inclusion criteria and comprised 367 patients (45%) treated for stable angina and 234 (30%) treated for unstable or post-infarct angina. The additional 207 patients (25%) were treated during AMI. The 808 patients received a total of 981 stents. Abciximab was given in only 88 cases (10.9%). Major adverse clinical events occurred in 39 patients (4.8%). CONCLUSION: Selective use of abciximab for patients undergoing coronary stenting can be associated with outcomes equivalent to those reported for routine use, but with significant cost savings.