Background: Controversy persists regarding the correct strategy for bifurcation lesions. Therefore, we combined the patient-level data from 2 large trials with similar methodology: the NORDIC Bifurcation Study (NORDIC I) and the British Bifurcation Coronary Study (BBC ONE).
Methods and results: Both randomized trials compared simple (provisional T-stenting) versus complex techniques, using drug-eluting stents. In the simple group (n=457), 129 patients had final kissing balloon dilatation in addition to main vessel stenting, and 16 had T-stenting. In the complex group (n=456), 272 underwent crush, 118 culotte, and 59 T-stenting techniques. A composite end point at 9 months of all-cause death, myocardial infarction, and target vessel revascularization occurred in 10.1% of the simple versus 17.3% of the complex group (hazard ratio 1.84 [95% confidence interval 1.28 to 2.66], P=0.001). Procedure duration, contrast, and x-ray dose favored the simple approach. Subgroup analysis revealed similar composite end point results for true bifurcations (n=657, simple 9.2% versus complex 17.3%; hazard ratio 1.90 [95% confidence interval 1.22 to 2.94], P=0.004), wide-angled bifurcations >60 to 70° (n=217, simple 9.6% versus complex 15.7%; hazard ratio 1.67 [ 95% confidence interval 0.78 to 3.62], P=0.186), large (≥2.75 mm) diameter side branches (n=281, simple 10.4% versus complex 20.7%; hazard ratio 2.42 [ 95% confidence interval 1.22 to 4.80], P=0.011), longer length (>5 mm) ostial side branch lesions (n=464, simple 12.1% versus complex 19.1%; hazard ratio 1.71 [95% confidence interval 1.05 to 2.77], P=0.029), or equivalent sized vessels (side branch <0.25 mm smaller than main vessel) (n=108, simple 12.0% versus complex 15.5%; hazard ratio 1.35 [95% confidence interval 0.48 to 3.70], P=0.57).
Conclusions: For bifurcation lesions, a provisional single-stent approach is superior to systematic dual stenting techniques in terms of safety and efficacy. A complex approach does not appear to be beneficial in more anatomically complicated lesions.