We performed a meta-analysis of randomized trials that compared percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) with coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery in patients with multivessel coronary artery disease. The outcomes of death, combined death, and nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), repeat revascularization, and freedom from angina were analyzed. The overall risk of death and nonfatal MI was not different over a follow-up of 1 to 3 years (CABG:PTCA odds ratio [OR] 1.03, 95% confidence interval 0.81 to 1.32, p = 0.81). Patients randomized to CABG tended to have a higher risk of death or MI in the early, periprocedural period (OR 1.33, p = 0.091), but a lower risk in subsequent follow-up (OR 0.74, p = 0.093). CABG patients were much less likely to undergo another revascularization procedure (p < 0.00001), and were more likely to be angina free (OR 1.57, p < 0.00001). Thus, CABG and PTCA patients have similar overall risks of death and nonfatal MI at 1 to 3 years of follow-up, but relative risk differences in mortality of up to 25% cannot be excluded. CABG patients have significantly less angina and less repeat revascularization than PTCA patients.