To determine whether patients with impaired left ventricular function and one- or two-vessel coronary artery disease who manifest severe ischemia during exercise radionuclide angiography have a lower rate of subsequent cardiac events when initial management is revascularization rather than medical therapy. During a median follow-up of 100 months, we compared the outcome between 37 patients who underwent a revascularization procedure and 22 who received medical therapy at the Mayo Clinic between September 1980 and December 1985. The revascularization therapy consisted of coronary artery bypass grafting in 31 patients and coronary angioplasty in 6. Overall survival and survival free of initial cardiac events were compared statistically for the medically and surgically treated patients. Eleven deaths occurred in the patients who received medical therapy and 9 in the revascularization group. Five-year overall survival was 58% in the medically treated patients versus 84% in the revascularization group. A significant association was noted between type of treatment and overall survival (adjusted χ2 = 6.20; P = 0.013). Twenty patients had initial cardiac events—7 in the medically treated group (3 cardiac deaths and 4 nonfatal myocardial infarctions) and 13 in the revascularization group (3 cardiac deaths, 3 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, and 7 nonfatal myocardial infarctions). Survival free of cardiac events at 5 years was 72% in the medically treated patients and 66% in those who underwent revascularization. No association was detected between type of treatment and survival free of cardiac events. These nonrandomized data suggest that overall survival for patients with one- or two-vessel coronary artery disease, impaired left ventricular function, and severe exercise-induced ischemia may be improved by revascularization, but the subsequent cardiac event rates are not.
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