Background: Combined severe proximal left anterior descending and proximal left circumflex coronary artery disease, or left main equivalent (LMEQ) disease, defines a prognostic high-risk angiographic subset of patients with chronic ischemic heart disease. While numerous observational and randomized clinical trials showed prolonged survival in surgically compared with medically treated patients with left main coronary artery disease, relatively few observational studies compared surgical and medical therapies in patients with LMEQ disease. The present report of 912 patients with LMEQ disease in the Coronary Artery Surgery Study (CASS) Registry extends the originally published 5-year surgical and medical group survival analysis to more than 16 years of follow-up and permits analysis of LMEQ patient subgroups. Methods and Results: The CASS Registry contains 912 patients with LMEQ disease, defined as combined stenoses of ≥70% in the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery before the first septal perforator and proximal circumflex coronary artery before the first obtuse marginal branch, initially treated with either surgical or nonsurgical therapy. The 15-year cumulative survival estimates were 44% for the 630 patients in the surgical group and 31% for the 282 patients in the medical group. Median survival in the surgical group was 13.1 years (12.7 to 14.1 years, 95% confidence limits) compared with only 6.2 years (4.8 to 7.9 years) in the medical group (difference, 6.9 years; P<.0001). Median survival was also significantly longer in the surgical group stratified by age, sex, anginal class, left ventricular (LV) function, and coronary anatomy. However, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery did not significantly prolong median survival in patient subgroups with (1) normal LV systolic function, even if a significant right coronary artery stenosis (≥70%) also was present, and (2) mildly abnormal (LV score, 6 to 10) LV systolic function. The 15-year cumulative survival in patients with normal LV systolic function in the surgical and medical groups was 63% and 54%, respectively. Median survival was >15 years in both the surgical and medical groups (P=NS). In patients with normal LV systolic function and right coronary artery stenosis ≥70%, the 15-year cumulative survival was also similar in the surgical and medical groups (63% and 53%, respectively). Median survival was >15 years in both the surgical and medical groups (P=NS). The 15-year cumulative survival estimates in all subgroups were affected by convergence of the surgical and medical group survival curves caused by a disproportionate increase in late surgical group mortality. Overall, 26% of patients in the medical group ultimately underwent CABG surgery. If all medical group patients had survived long enough, about 65% would be estimated to have had surgery by 15 years. When the CASS Registry patients with LMEQ disease who participated in the randomized trial or who were randomizable were analyzed, CABG surgery did not prolong the 15- year cumulative survival estimates compared with nonsurgical therapy for randomized (71% versus 67%, respectively) and for randomizable patients (62% versus 92%, respectively) with an LV ejection fraction ≥50%. Conclusions: This report, which extends follow-up of more than 16 years in CASS Registry patients with LMEQ disease, shows that CABG surgery prolongs life in most clinical and angiographic subgroups. However, median survival was not prolonged by CABG surgery in patients with normal LV systolic function, even if a significant right coronary artery stenosis (≥70%) also was present or in patients with an LV ejection fraction ≥50% who participated in the CASS randomized trial or who were randomizable. These results extend our understanding of the natural history of LMEQ disease and permit a more accurate estimate of long-term surgical and medical group survival. These long-term results should allow clinicians to make more informed decisions about the best choice of treatment available for patients with similar clinical and angiographic features.
- coronary disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)