Background: Although unprotected left main coronary artery disease is considered by contemporary guidelines to be an indication for surgery, percutaneous coronary intervention may be necessary in patients at high surgical risk.
Objectives: To assess the outcome of angioplasty in the treatment of unprotected LMCA disease.
Methods: Angiographic and clinical data were collected prospectively for all patients who underwent emergent or non-emergent (planned) therapeutic PCI for unprotected LMCA disease at our center from 2003 to 2007. Baseline values were compared with findings at 1, 6 and 12 months after the procedure.
Results: The study group comprised 71 consecutive patients with a mean age of 74 ± 12 years; 63% were men, and 31% had diabetes. Forty-three patients had a planned procedure and 28 an emergent procedure. Mean EuroScore was 7.3 ± 3.6 (range 5–12). Forty-nine percent of the procedures were performed with bare metal stents and 51% with drug-eluting stents. Procedural success was achieved in 100% of cases. The overall mortality rate was 11.3% at 1 month, 18.3% at 6 months and 19.7% at 12 months. Elective PCI was associated with significantly lower mortality (2.3% vs. 25% at 1 month, 4.6% vs. 39% at 6 months and 6.9% vs. 39% at 12 months), and the use of drug-eluting stents was associated with lower rates of target vessel revascularization and major adverse cardiac events than use of bare metal stents (2.8% vs. 14% at 1 month, 8.3% vs. 43% at 6 and 12 months). Variables that correlated with increased mortality or MACE at 6 and 12 months were cardiogenic shock, emergent PCI, ejection fraction < 35%, renal failure, distal left main stenosis location, and reference diameter < 3 mm.
Conclusions: PCI is a feasible and relatively safe therapeutic option for unprotected LMCA. The less favorable outcome of emergent compared to planned PCI is probably attributable to the overwhelming acute myocardial ischemic injury in emergent cases. The use of drug-eluting stents may improve the intermediate-term restenosis rate.
 LMCA = left main coronary artery
 PCI = percutaneous coronary intervention
 MACE = major adverse cardiac events