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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2006 Apr;29(4):486-91. Epub 2006 Feb 23.

Current percutaneous coronary intervention and coronary artery bypass grafting practices for three-vessel and left main coronary artery disease. Insights from the SYNTAX run-in phase.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, ErasmusMC, P.O. Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



Percutaneous coronary intervention with drug-eluting stents is challenging coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) as the gold standard for treatment of three-vessel and left main coronary disease. We evaluated the current practice pattern in hospitals throughout Europe and USA.


To qualify for participation in the SYNTAX (Synergy between PCI with TAXUS drug-eluting stent and Cardiac Surgery) study, a randomized trial comparing percutaneous coronary intervention with drug-eluting stent versus coronary artery bypass grafting for three-vessel and left main disease, 104 centers were asked to provide their case volume in 3 months in 2004. Anonymous procedural data were collected.


A total of 12,072 patients were recorded. Coronary artery bypass grafting was the most frequently performed procedure (N=8895, 74%). Three-vessel disease (3VD) predominated in this population (N=8532, 71%) versus left main (N=3540, 29%). In the 3-month period, per center a mean of 8.3 patients with left main and 22.3 patients with three-vessel disease were treated by percutaneous coronary intervention, while 26.0 patients with left main and 60.3 patients with three-vessel disease were treated by coronary artery bypass grafting. In USA, percutaneous coronary intervention for left main and/or three-vessel disease was performed in 18% of the cases while this was performed in 29% of the cases in Europe. Of all CABG procedures, only 12% were done with total arterial grafting while 7% were treated with only venous grafts.


In patients with multivessel or left main disease, still coronary artery bypass grafting remains the dominant revascularization strategy. Percutaneous coronary intervention is performed frequently without supporting data from the literature. Percutaneous coronary intervention for this indication is performed more often in Europe than in USA. Only a minority of the patients receives total arterial grafting in case of coronary artery bypass grafting. The SYNTAX trial with randomized and registry cohorts should provide guidance for selecting the preferred form of treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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