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Circulation. 1995 Apr 1;91(7):1966-74.

A multicenter, randomized trial of coronary angioplasty versus directional atherectomy for patients with saphenous vein bypass graft lesions. CAVEAT-II Investigators.

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Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn 55905.



Directional coronary atherectomy and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty have both been used in symptomatic patients with coronary saphenous vein bypass graft stenoses. The relative merits of plaque excision and removal versus balloon dilatation remain uncertain. We compared outcomes after directional coronary atherectomy or angioplasty in patients with de novo bypass graft stenoses.


Fifty-four North American and European sites randomized 305 patients with de novo vein graft lesions to atherectomy (n = 149) or angioplasty (n = 156). Quantitative coronary angiography at a core laboratory assessed initial and 6-month results. Initial angiographic success was greater with atherectomy (89.2% versus 79.0%), as was initial luminal gain (1.45 versus 1.12 mm, P < .001). Distal embolization was increased with atherectomy (P = .012), and a trend was shown toward more non-Q-wave myocardial infarction (P = .09). Although the 6-month net minimum luminal diameter gain was 0.68 mm for atherectomy and 0.50 mm for angioplasty, the restenosis rates were similar, 45.6% for atherectomy and 50.5% for angioplasty (P = .491). At 6 months, there was a trend toward decreased repeated target-vessel interventions for atherectomy (P = .092); in addition, 13.2% of patients treated with atherectomy versus 22.4% of the angioplasty patients (P = .041) required repeated percutaneous intervention of the initial target lesion.


Atherectomy of de novo vein graft lesions was associated with improved initial angiographic success and luminal diameter but also with increased distal embolization. There was no difference in 6-month restenosis rates, although primary atherectomy patients tended to require fewer target-vessel revascularization procedures.

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