Objectives: We examined the immediate and long-term outcomes after stenting of unprotected left main coronary artery (LMCA) stenoses in patients with normal left ventricular (LV) function.
Background: Left main coronary artery disease is regarded as an absolute contraindication for coronary angioplasty. Recently, several reports on protected or unprotected LMCA stenting, or both, suggested the possibility of percutaneous intervention for this prohibited area.
Methods: Forty-two consecutive patients with unprotected LMCA stenoses and normal LV function were treated with stents. The post-stent antithrombotic regimens were aspirin and ticlopidine; 14 patients also received warfarin. Patients were followed very closely with monthly telephone interviews and follow-up angiography at 6 months.
Results: The procedural success rate was 100%, with no episodes of subacute thrombosis regardless of anticoagulation regimen. Six-month follow-up angiography was performed in 32 of 34 eligible patients. Angiographic restenosis occurred in seven patients (22%, 95% confidence interval 7% to 37%); five patients subsequently underwent elective coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), and two patients were treated with rotational atherectomy plus adjunct balloon angioplasty. The only death occurred 2 days after elective CABG for treatment of in-stent restenosis. The other patients (without angiographic follow-up) remain asymptomatic.
Conclusions: Stenting of unprotected LMCA stenoses may be a safe and effective alternative to CABG in carefully selected patients with normal LV function. Further studies in larger patient populations are needed to assess late outcome.