OBJECTIVES: The extent to which recurrent events in patients with stable coronary artery disease is attributable to progression of an index lesion originally â‰¥50% diameter stenosis (DS) but not revascularized or originally <50% DS is unknown during optimal medical therapy (OMT).
METHODS: In the COURAGE (Clinical Outcomes Utilizing Revascularization and Aggressive Drug Evaluation) trial, 205 patients assigned to OMT plus percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and 284 patients assigned to OMT only had symptom-driven angiograms suitable for analysis.
RESULTS: Percentages of patients in the OMT+PCI and OMT-only cohorts with index lesions originally <50% DS were 30% and 32%, respectively; 20% and 68% had index lesions originally â‰¥50% DS. In both groups, index lesions originally <50% or â‰¥50% DS represented <4% and <25% of all such lesions, respectively. The only angiographic predictor of myocardial infarction or acute coronary syndrome was the number of lesions originally â‰¥50% DS that had not been revascularized (odds ratio, 1.15; confidence limits, 1.01â€“1.31; P<0.04).
CONCLUSIONS: Lesions originally <50% DS were index lesions in one third of patients referred for symptom-driven repeat angiography, but represented <4% of all such lesions. Nonrevascularized lesions originally â‰¥50% DS were more often index lesions in OMT-only patients, but still represented a minority (<25%) of all such lesions. These findings underscore the need for improved therapies to arrest plaque progression and reliable strategies for selecting stenoses warranting PCI.