Outcomes of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) versus medical therapy (MT) in the management of stable ischemic heart disease (SIHD) remain controversial, with some but not all studies showing improved results in patients with ischemia. We sought to elucidate whether PCI improves mortality compared to MT in patients with objective evidence of ischemia (assessed using noninvasive imaging or its invasive equivalent). We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing PCI to MT in patients with SIHD. To maintain a high degree of specificity for ischemia, studies were only included if ischemia was defined on the basis of noninvasive stress imaging or abnormal fractional flow reserve. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. We identified 3 RCTs (Effects of Percutaneous Coronary Interventions in Silent Ischemia After Myocardial Infarction II, Fractional Flow Reserve versus Angiography for Multivessel Evaluation 2, and a substudy of the Clinical Outcomes Utilizing Revascularization and Aggressive Drug Evaluation trial) enrolling a total of 1,557 patients followed for an average of 3.0 years. When compared with MT in this population of patients with objective ischemia, PCI was associated with lower mortality (hazard ratio 0.52, 95% confidence interval 0.30 to 0.92, p=0.02). There was no evidence of study heterogeneity or bias among included trials. In this meta-analysis of published RCTs, PCI was shown to have a mortality benefit over MT in patients with SIHD and objective assessment of ischemia using noninvasive imaging or its invasive equivalent. In conclusion, this study provides insight into the management of a higher-risk SIHD population that is the focus of the ongoing International Study of Comparative Health Effectiveness with Medical and Invasive Approaches trial.
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