The objective of this study was to assess long-term clinical outcomes and their correlates in medically managed outpatients with stable angina pectoris, healed myocardial infarction (MI), or documented asymptomatic coronary artery disease (CAD). Management strategy emphasized maximally tolerated medical therapy and modification of coronary risk factors. Referral to invasive coronary interventions followed stricter criteria than standard published guidelines. Primary study outcomes were all-cause mortality or nonfatal myocardial infarction. Secondary study outcomes included cardiac death, unstable angina, or coronary revascularization. A total of 693 men and women with proved CAD (mean age 67 years at entry, 85% men, 41% with history of MI) were enrolled. The annual incidence of nonfatal MI, cardiac mortality, and total mortality was 2.2%, 0.8%, and 1.4%, respectively, during an average follow-up of 4.6 years. Coronary revascularization was performed in 24% of subjects; unstable or progressive anginal symptoms were the most common reasons for revascularization. In patients with documented stable CAD, a management strategy based on intensive medical therapy and modification of established coronary risk factors was associated with excellent long-term outcomes. Thus, coronary interventions can be safely delayed until clinical instability ensues, without increased risk of MI or death. This treatment approach represents a viable alternative to invasive strategies.
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