Long-term results of RITA-1 trial: clinical and cost comparisons of coronary angioplasty and coronary-artery bypass grafting. Randomised Intervention Treatment of Angina

Lancet. 1998 Oct 31;352(9138):1419-25. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(98)03358-3.


Background: Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) and coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG) are both effective intervention strategies for patients with coronary heart disease. We report comparative long-term clinical and health-service cost findings for these interventions in the first Randomised Intervention Treatment of Angina (RITA-1) trial.

Methods: 1011 patients with coronary heart disease (45% single-vessel, 55% multivessel) were randomly assigned initial treatment strategies of PTCA or CABG. Information on clinical events, subsequent intervention, symptomatic status, exercise testing, and use of health-care resources is available for a median 6.5 years of follow-up. Analyses were by intention to treat.

Findings: The predefined primary endpoint of death or nonfatal myocardial infarction occurred in 87 (17%) PTCA-group patients and 80 (16%) CABG-group patients (p=0.64). Similarly, there was no significant treatment difference in deaths alone (39 PTCA, 45 CABG), of which 46% were cardiac related. In both groups, the risk of cardiac death or myocardial infarction was more than five times higher in the first year than in subsequent years of follow-up. 26% of patients assigned PTCA subsequently also had CABG, and a further 19% required additional nonrandomised PTCA. Most of these reinterventions occurred within a year of randomisation, and from 3 years onwards the reintervention rate averaged 4% per year. In the CABG group the reintervention rate averaged 2% per year. The prevalence of angina was consistently higher in the PTCA group, with an absolute average 10% excess compared with the CABG group (p<0.001). Total health-service costs over 5 years showed no significant difference between initial strategies of PTCA and CABG (mean difference pounds sterling 426 [95% Cl -pounds sterling 383 to pounds sterling 1235]; p=0.30). The clinical and cost comparisons showed similar patterns for patients with single-vessel and multivessel disease.

Interpretation: Initial strategies of PTCA and CABG led to similar long-term results in terms of survival and avoidance of myocardial infarction and to similar long-term health-care costs. Choice of approach, therefore, rests on weighing the more invasive nature of CABG against the greater risk of recurrent angina and reintervention over many years after PTCA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angina Pectoris / economics
  • Angina Pectoris / epidemiology
  • Angina Pectoris / surgery
  • Angina Pectoris / therapy*
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary / economics*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / economics*
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control
  • Prevalence