The Emory Angioplasty versus Surgery Trial (EAST) showed that multivessel patients eligible for both percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) and coronary bypass surgery (CABG) had equivalent 3-year outcomes regarding survival, myocardial infarction, and major myocardial ischemia. Patients eligible for the trial who were not randomized because of physician or patient refusal were followed in a registry. This study compares the outcomes of the randomized and registry patients. Of the 842 eligible patients, 450 did not enter the trial. Their baseline features closely resembled those of the randomized patients and follow up was performed using the same methods. In the registry there was a bias toward selecting CABG in patients with 3-vessel disease (84%) and PTCA in patients with 2-vessel disease (54%). Three-year survival for the registry patients was 96.4%, which was better than the randomized patients, 93.4% (p = 0.044). Angina relief in the registry was equal for CABG and PTCA patients and was better for the PTCA registry (12.4%) than PTCA randomized patients (19.6%) (p = 0.079). Thus, the registry confirms that EAST is representative of all eligible patients and does not represent a low-risk subgroup. Since baseline differences were small, improved survival in the registry may be due to treatment selection. Physician judgment, even in patients judged appropriate for clinical trials, remains a potentially important predictor of outcomes.