Deferral vs. performance of percutaneous coronary intervention of functionally non-significant coronary stenosis: 15-year follow-up of the DEFER trial

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Abstract

Aims

Stenting an angiographically intermediate but functionally non-significant stenosis is controversial. Nevertheless, it has been questioned if deferral of a functionally non-significant lesion on the basis of fractional flow reserve (FFR) measurement, is safe, especially on the long term. Five-year follow-up of the DEFER trial showed that outcome after deferral of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) of an intermediate coronary stenosis based on FFR ≥ 0.75 is excellent and was not improved by stenting. The aim of this study was to investigate the validity of this position on the very long term.

Methods and results

In 325 patients scheduled for PCI of an intermediate stenosis, FFR was measured just before the planned intervention. If FFR was ≥0.75, patients were randomly assigned to deferral (Defer group; n = 91) or performance (Perform group; n = 90) of PCI. If FFR was <0.75, PCI was performed as planned (Reference group; n = 144). Clinical follow-up was 15 years. There were no differences in baseline clinical characteristics between the randomized groups. Complete 15-year follow-up was obtained in 92% of patients. After 15 years of follow-up, the rate of death was not different between the three groups: 33.0% in the Defer group, 31.1% in the Perform group, and 36.1% in the Reference group (Defer vs. Perform, RR 1.06, 95% CI: 0.69–1.62, P = 0.79). The rate of myocardial infarction was significantly lower in the Defer group (2.2%) compared with the Perform group (10.0%), RR 0.22, 95% CI: 0.05–0.99, P = 0.03.

Conclusion

Deferral of PCI of a functionally non-significant stenosis is associated with a favourable very long-term follow-up without signs of late ‘catch-up’ phenomenon.

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