Patient Care

No Mortality Benefit to Cardiac Catheterization in Patients with Stable Ischemic Heart Disease


Clinical question: Can cardiac catheterization prolong survival in patients with stable ischemic heart disease?

Background: Previous results from the COURAGE trial found no benefit of percutaneous intervention (PCI) as compared to medical therapy on a composite endpoint of death or nonfatal myocardial infarction or in total mortality at 4.6 years follow-up. The authors now report 15-year follow-up of the same patients.

Study design: Randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: The majority of the patients were from Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, although non-VA hospitals in the U.S. also were included.

Synopsis: Originally, 2,287 patients with stable ischemic heart disease and either an abnormal stress test or evidence of ischemia on ECG, as well at least 70% stenosis on angiography, were randomized to medical therapy or medical therapy plus PCI. Now, investigators have obtained extended follow-up information for 1,211 of the original patients (53%). They concluded that after 15 years of follow-up, there was no survival difference for the patients who initially received PCI in addition to medical management.

One limitation of the study was that it did not reflect important advances in both medical and interventional management of ischemic heart disease that have taken place since the study was conducted, which may affect patient mortality. It is also noteworthy that the investigators were unable to determine how many patients in the medical management group subsequently underwent revascularization after the study concluded and therefore may have crossed over between groups. Nevertheless, for now it appears that the major utility of PCI in stable ischemic heart disease is in symptomatic management.

Bottom Line: After 15 years of follow-up, there was still no mortality benefit to PCI as compared to optimal medical therapy for stable ischemic heart disease.

Citation: Sedlis SP, Hartigan PM, Teo KK, et al. Effect of PCI on long-term survival in patients with stable ischemic heart disease. N Engl J Med. 2015;373(20):1937-1946

Short Take

Cauti Infections Are Rarely Clinically Relevant and Associated with Low Complication Rate

A single-center retrospective study in the ICU setting shows that the definition of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) is nonspecific and they’re mostly diagnosed when urine cultures are sent for workup of fever. Most of the time, there are alternative explanations for the fever.

Citation: Tedja R, Wentink J, O’Horo J, Thompson R, Sampathkumar P et al. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections in intensive care unit patients. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1330-1334.

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