Results of previous trials comparing coronary angioplasty with coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) suggest that rates of death or heart attack do not differ between treatment strategies. However, coronary angioplasty is associated with an increased likelihood of the need for additional revascularisation (another, unplanned repeat procedure). The use of stents in addition to balloon angioplasty should reduce the need for additional revascularisation; the aim of the Stent or Surgery (SoS) trial, led by Rodney Stables from the Cardiothoracic Centre, Liverpool, UK, was to compare the effect of stent-assisted coronary angioplasty with CABG.
1000 patients with coronary artery disease from 53 centres in Europe and Canada were randomly assigned to treatment with stent-assisted angioplasty or CABG. After an average two-year follow-up, around 20% of patients given stenting required additional revascularisation compared with only 6% of patients given CABG. Overall, there was a reduction in subsequent heart attack among patients given angioplasty (5%) than those given CABG (8%). There were fewer deaths among patients given CABG (2%) than those given angioplasty (5%).
Rodney Stables comments: "The use of coronary stents has reduced the need for repeat revascularisation when compared with previous studies that used balloon angioplasty, though the rate remains significantly higher that in patients managed with CABG. The apparent reduction in mortality with CABG requires further investigation."