Conference Coverage

Time reveals benefit of CABG over PCI for left main disease



– In the long run, patients with left main coronary artery disease fare better if they undergo coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) instead of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with drug-eluting stents, suggest 10-year results of the MAIN-COMPARE trial. Findings were reported at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics annual meeting.

Dr. Seung-Jung Park, chairman of the Heart Institute at Asan Medical Center in Seoul and professor of medicine at University of Ulsan, South Korea Susan London/MDedge News

Dr. Seung-Jung Park

Although CABG is the standard choice for revascularization in this patient population, PCI has been making inroads thanks to advances in stents, antithrombotic drugs, periprocedural management, and operator expertise, noted senior author Seung-Jung Park, MD, PhD, chairman of the Heart Institute at Asan Medical Center in Seoul and professor of medicine at University of Ulsan, South Korea. “Indeed, many studies showed that PCI using drug-eluting stents might be a good alternative for selected patients with left main coronary artery disease.”

Two large, randomized, controlled trials, EXCEL and NOBLE, have compared these treatment strategies and helped clarify outcomes at intermediate follow-up periods of 3-5 years. But long-term data, increasingly important as survival improves, are lacking.

Dr. Park reported the 10-year update of a prospective, observational cohort study that analyzed data from more than 2,000 patients with unprotected left main coronary artery disease in the MAIN-COMPARE registry, which captures revascularization procedures performed at 12 Korean cardiac centers.

In the entire cohort, about a fifth of the patients died, and roughly a fourth experienced a composite adverse outcome of death and cardiovascular events regardless of whether they received PCI or CABG, but the former yielded a rate of target vessel revascularization that was more than three times higher, according to results reported at the meeting and simultaneously published (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018 Sep 14. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2018.09.012). Among the subset of patients treated in the more recent drug-eluting stent era, those who underwent PCI were more likely to die and to experience the composite outcome starting at the 5-year mark.

“Drug-eluting stents were associated with higher risks of death and serious composite outcomes compared to CABG after 5 years. The treatment benefit of CABG has diverged over time during continued follow-up,” Dr. Park noted. “The rate of target-vessel failure was consistently higher in the PCI group.”

“We used mainly first-generation drug-eluting stents,” he acknowledged. “However, many studies have demonstrated there is not too much difference between the first- and second-generation stents.”

Data worth the wait

In the same session, investigators reported the 10-year update of the European and U.S. randomized SYNTAX Extended Survival trial, called SYNTAXES. SYNTAX enrolled patients with three-vessel or left main coronary disease. That trial found no significant difference in survival between PCI with drug-eluting stents and CABG overall. In stratified analysis, mortality was higher with PCI among patients with three-vessel disease, but not among patients with left main disease.

Taken together, these trials help clarify the long-term comparative efficacy of PCI and begin to inform patient selection, according to press conference panelist Morton J. Kern, MD, a professor at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center.

Dr. Morton J. Kern, chief of medicine, VA Long Beach Health Care System, University of California, Irvine Medical Center Susan London/MDedge News

Dr. Morton J. Kern

“The fine subgroup analysis of who the best candidates are is still in question,” he elaborated. “The SYNTAXES study told us that surgery for left mains is still pretty good, and even though you can get good results with PCI, the event rates are higher in that three-vessel, high-SYNTAX score group, so we should be careful. Interventionalists need to know their limitations. I think that’s what both studies tell us, actually.”


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