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OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present study was to assess outcomes after coronary artery bypass grafting surgery (CABG) and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) according to sex in a large randomized trial of patients with unprotected left main disease. BACKGROUND: In the SYNTAX (Synergy Between Percutaneous Coronary Intervention With Taxus and Cardiac Surgery) trial, sex had a significant interaction effect with revascularization strategy, and women had an overall higher mortality when treated with PCI than CABG. METHODS: The EXCEL (Evaluation of XIENCE Versus Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery for Effectiveness of Left Main Revascularization) trial was a multinational randomized trial that compared PCI with everolimus-eluting stents and CABG in patients with unprotected left main disease. The primary endpoint was the composite of all-cause death, myocardial infarction, or stroke at 3 years. RESULTS: Of 1,905 patients randomized, 1,464 (76.9%) were men and 441 (23.1%) were women. Compared with men, women were older; had higher prevalence rates of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes; and were less commonly smokers but had lower coronary anatomic burden and complexity (mean SYNTAX score 24.2 vs. 27.2, p < 0.001). By multivariate analysis, sex was not independently associated with either the primary endpoint (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.10; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.82 to 1.48; p = 0.53) or all-cause death (HR: 1.39; 95% CI: 0.92 to 2.10; p = 0.12) at 3 years. At 30 days, all-cause death, myocardial infarction, or stroke had occurred in 8.9% of woman treated with PCI, 6.2% of women treated with CABG, 3.6% of men treated with PCI, and 8.4% of men treated with CABG (p for interaction = 0.003). The 3-year rate of the composite primary endpoint was 19.7% in women treated with PCI, 14.6% in women treated with CABG, 13.8% in men treated with PCI, and 14.7% in men treated with CABG (p for interaction = 0.06). These differences were driven by higher periprocedural rates of myocardial infarction in women after PCI and in men after CABG. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with unprotected left main disease in the EXCEL trial, sex was not an independent predictor of adverse outcomes after revascularization. However, women undergoing PCI had a trend toward worse outcomes, a finding related to associated comorbidities and increased periprocedural complications. Further studies are required to determine the optimal revascularization modality in women with complex coronary artery disease.

Original publication




Journal article


JACC Cardiovasc Interv

Publication Date





1234 - 1243


SYNTAX score, coronary artery bypass graft, female, male, percutaneous coronary intervention, sex, Aged, Comorbidity, Coronary Artery Bypass, Coronary Artery Disease, Coronary Stenosis, Female, Health Status Disparities, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Myocardial Infarction, Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Severity of Illness Index, Sex Factors, Stents, Stroke, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome