Objectives: The purpose of this study was to report the 3-year follow-up results of the ERACI trial (Argentine Randomized Trial of Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty Versus Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery in Multivessel Disease).
Background: Although coronary angioplasty has been used with increased frequency in patients with multivessel coronary artery disease, its value, compared with bypass graft surgery, has not been established. Thus, controlled, randomized clinical trials such as the ERACI are needed.
Methods: In this trial 127 patients who had multivessel coronary artery disease and clinical indication of myocardial revascularization were randomized to undergo coronary angioplasty (n = 63) or bypass surgery (n = 64). The primary end point of this study was event-free survival (survival with freedom from myocardial infarction, angina and new revascularization procedures) for both groups of patients at 1, 3 and 5 years of follow-up.
Results: Freedom from combined cardiac events (death, Q-wave myocardial infarction, angina and repeat revascularization procedures) was significantly greater for the bypass surgery group than the coronary angioplasty group (77% vs. 47%; p < 0.001). There were no differences in overall (4.7% vs. 9.5%; p = 0.5) and cardiac (4.7% vs. 4.7%; p = 1) mortality or in the frequency of myocardial infarction (7.8% vs. 7.8%; p = 0.8) between the two groups. However, patients who had bypass surgery were more frequently free of angina (79% vs. 57%; p < 0.001) and required fewer additional reinterventions (6.3% vs. 37%; p < 0.001) than patients who had coronary angioplasty.
Conclusions: 1) Freedom from combined cardiac events at 3-year follow-up was greater in patients who had bypass surgery than in those who had coronary angioplasty. 2) The coronary angioplasty group had a higher incidence of recurrence of angina and the need for repeat revascularization procedures. 3) Cumulative cost at 3-year follow-up was greater for the bypass surgery group than for the coronary angioplasty group.