Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with a drug coated balloon (DCB) is a novel treatment which seeks to acutely dilate a coronary stenosis and deliver an anti-proliferative drug to the vessel wall (reducing the risk of re-stenosis), without implanting a drug eluting stent (DES). In this study, we performed a systematic review of stentless DCB-only angioplasty in de novo coronary artery disease. We identified 41 studies examining the effects of DCB-only PCI in a variety of clinical scenarios including small vessels, bifurcations, calcified lesions, and primary PCI. DCB-only PCI appears to be associated with comparable clinical outcomes to DESs and superior angiographic outcomes to plain-old balloon angioplasty. Although current data are promising, there is still a need for further long-term randomized control trial data comparing a DCB-only approach specifically against a second- or third-generation DES. A 4-week period of dual antiplatelet therapy provides a real advantage for the DCB-only PCI approach, which is not possible with most DESs. Since rates of adverse clinical outcomes are very low for all PCI procedures attention should be turned to the development of robust endpoints with which to compare DCB-only PCI approaches to the standard treatment with a DES.
Keywords: Coronary artery disease; De novo; Drug-coated balloon; Drug-eluting balloon; Percutaneous coronary intervention.