Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty versus medical therapy for stable angina pectoris: outcomes for patients with double-vessel versus single-vessel coronary artery disease in a Veterans Affairs Cooperative randomized trial. Veterans Affairs ACME InvestigatorS

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1997 Jun;29(7):1505-11. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(97)00097-1.


Objectives: This study sought to assess outcomes of men with double-vessel coronary artery disease randomly assigned to treatment by percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or medical therapy, compared with previously reported outcomes for men with single-vessel disease.

Background: We previously reported that PTCA provides better symptom relief and treadmill performance than medical therapy for men with stable angina pectoris due to single-vessel disease. Whether this advantage applies to patients with double-vessel disease is unknown.

Methods: Male patients (n = 328) with stable angina pectoris and ischemia on treadmill testing were randomly assigned to PTCA or medical therapy; 101 patients had double-vessel disease, and 227 had single-vessel disease. Symptoms, treadmill performance, quality of life score, coronary stenosis and myocardial perfusion were compared at baseline and at 6 months. Patients were followed up for up to 6 years and underwent additional treadmill testing 2 to 3 years after randomization.

Results: PTCA-treated and medically treated patients with double-vessel disease experienced comparable improvement in exercise duration (+1.2 vs. +1.3 min, respectively, p = 0.89), freedom from angina (53% and 36%, respectively, p = 0.09) and improvement of overall quality of life score (+1.3 vs. +4.4, respectively, p = 0.32) at 6 months compared with baseline. This contrasts with greater advantages favoring PTCA by these criteria in patients with single-vessel disease (p = 0.0001 to 0.02). Trends present at 6 months persisted at late follow-up. Patients undergoing double-vessel dilation had less complete initial revascularization (45% vs. 83%) and greater average stenosis of worst lesions at 6 months (74% vs. 56%). Likewise, patients with double-vessel disease showed less improved myocardial perfusion imaging (59% vs. 75%).

Conclusions: PTCA is beneficial in male patients with double-vessel disease; however, we cannot demonstrate the same advantage over medical therapy seen in similar patients with single-vessel disease. Less complete revascularization and greater restenosis for patients having multiple dilations would account for these findings. Alternatively, a type 2 error might be operative. Technical advances since completion of this trial might improve these outcomes. These findings warrant further investigation in a larger trial.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Angina Pectoris / pathology
  • Angina Pectoris / therapy*
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary*
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use*
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Quality of Life
  • Thallium Radioisotopes
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Thallium Radioisotopes
  • Aspirin