In patients with multivessel coronary artery disease who require revascularization there is uncertainty as to the selection of the appropriate patients for percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) as opposed to coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). To define the relative roles of PTCA and CABG for multivessel disease, 392 patients were randomly assigned to revascularization by PTCA or CABG and followed for 3 years. This is a single-center randomized study in which individual group assignment was known but grouped data remained blinded until a full 3 years of follow-up was complete on all patients. The patients were randomized in 4 strata: (1) 2-vessel disease with 1 lesion per vessel; (2) 2-vessel disease with multiple lesions in at least 1 vessel; (3) 3-vessel disease with 1 lesion per vessel; and (4) 3-vessel disease with multiple lesions in at least 1 vessel. All data were collected on study-specific forms and sent to an independent biostatistical coordinating center for entry into a computerized database. All data will be analyzed by intention-to-treat. The primary endpoint of the trial is the composite of death of any cause, Q-wave myocardial infarction within 3 years, or a large reversible thallium defect at 3 years. Multiple secondary endpoints will include each of the components of the primary endpoint, the need for additional procedures, angiographic status at 1 and 3 years measured by an independent quantitative coronary arteriography laboratory, and measures of quality of life. A total of 5,118 patients were screened, of whom 3,371 were excluded for angiographic reasons, 191 because the angioplasty operators or surgeons believed that the patients were anatomically unsuitable, and 714 for clinical exclusions, leaving 842 eligible patients, of whom 392 were randomized. Of these, 40% had triple-vessel disease and 60% had double-vessel disease. There was no baseline difference between the 2 treatment arms for any clinical or major angiographic variable. This randomized trial will permit an in-depth comparison of coronary angioplasty and coronary surgery in comparable patients suitable for either procedure. Clinical, angiographic, and quality-of-life comparisons will be made and should be helpful in medical decision making between the 2 procedures.