Today a Reuters news release discussed a study from the July 2006 European Heart Journal that coronary bypass surgery improved quality of life for the elderly better than conventional medical therapy. While this may be true, the study was conducted from 1995 to 1998, well before the advent of drug-eluting stents. Certainly, the upfront risks of such major surgery are of concern for anyone with severe diffuse coronary disease. Recently, the technology to approach complex coronary artery disease by minimally-invasive means has become available. But to really ascertain which therapeutic approach is safest and most effective to recommend to our patients, a multi-center, prospective, randomized trial should be undertaken. Enter the SYNTAX Trial. The SYNTAX Trial is a large multicenter trial comparing the efficancy of three-vessel percutaneous revascularization (with stents) head-to-head to coronary bypass grafting for patients with severe three-vessel coronary disease (including left main coronary disease). It promises to shake up the field of cardiology IF percutaneous revascularization is found to be as safe as bypass, but the results won't be known for some time.
If you know someone who would be a good candidate and would consider having a 50% chance at less invasive surgery for severe coronary artery disease, consider contacting a center performing the Syntax Trial.