Meta-analysis of randomized trials of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty versus atherectomy, cutting balloon atherotomy, or laser angioplasty

John A. Bittl, Derek P. Chew, Eric J. Topol, David F. Kong, Robert M. Califf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives We conducted a systematic overview (meta-analysis) of randomized trials of balloon angioplasty versus coronary atherectomy, laser angioplasty, or cutting balloon atherotomy to evaluate the effects of plaque modification during percutaneous coronary intervention. Background Several mechanical approaches have been developed that ablate or section atheromatous plaque during percutaneous coronary interventions to optimize acute results, minimize intimal injury, and reduce complications and restenosis. Methods Sixteen trials (9,222 patients) constitute the randomized controlled experience with atherectomy, laser, or atherotomy versus balloon angioplasty with or without coronary stenting. Each trial tested the hypothesis that ablative therapy would result in better clinical or angiographic results than balloon dilation alone. Results Short-term death rates (<31 days) were not improved by the use of ablative procedures (0.3% vs. 0.4%, odds ratio [OR] 0.94 [95% confidence interval 0.46 to 1.92]), but periprocedural myocardial infarctions (4.4% vs. 2.5%, OR 1.83 [95% CI 1.43 to 2.34]) and major adverse cardiac events (5.1% vs. 3.3%, OR 1.54 [95% CI 1.25 to 1.89]) were increased. Angiographic restenosis rates (6,958 patients) were not improved with the ablative devices (38.9% vs. 37.4%, OR 1.06 [95% CI 0.97 to 1.17]). No reduction in revascularization rates (25.2% vs. 24.5%, OR 1.04 [95% CI 0.94 to 1.14]) or cumulative adverse cardiac events rates up to one year after treatment were seen with ablative devices (27.8% vs. 26.1%, OR 1.09 [95% CI 0.99 to 1.20]). Conclusions The combined experience from randomized trials suggests that ablative devices failed to achieve predefined clinical and angiographic outcomes. This meta-analysis does not support the hypothesis that routine ablation or sectioning of atheromatous tissue is beneficial during percutaneous coronary interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-942
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 17 Mar 2004


  • (excimer or holmium) laser angioplasty
  • CBA
  • CI
  • Confidence interval
  • Coronary balloon atherotomy
  • DCA
  • Directional coronary atherectomy
  • ELA
  • Excimer laser coronary angioplasty
  • LA
  • MACE
  • MI
  • Major adverse cardiac events
  • Myocardial infarction
  • OR
  • Odds ratio
  • PTRA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this