Background: Randomized studies have shown that the use of coronary-artery stenting as the initial treatment for coronary stenosis is associated with a lower risk of restenosis than is standard coronary angioplasty. We prospectively investigated the efficacy of these two approaches in selected patients with isolated stenosis of the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery.
Methods: A total of 120 patients with isolated stenosis of the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery were randomly assigned to stent implantation or standard coronary angioplasty. The primary clinical end points were the rate of procedural success (defined as residual stenosis of less than 50 percent and the absence of death, myocardial infarction, and the need for coronary-artery bypass surgery during the hospital stay) and the rate of event-free survival (defined as freedom from death, myocardial infarction, and the recurrence of angina) at 12 months. The angiographic end point was the rate of restenosis 12 months after the procedure.
Results: The two treatment groups did not differ significantly with respect to demographic, clinical, or angiographic characteristics. The rates of procedural success were similar in the two groups of patients (95 percent in the stenting group vs. 93 percent in the angioplasty group, P = 0.98). The 12-month rates of event-free survival were 87 percent after stenting and 70 percent after angioplasty (P = 0.04). The rates of restenosis were 19 percent after stent implantation and 40 percent after angioplasty (P = 0.02).
Conclusions: In patients with symptomatic isolated stenosis of the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery, stenting had advantages over standard coronary angioplasty in that it was associated with both a lower rate of restenosis and a better clinical outcome.