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Variation in revascularization practice and outcomes in asymptomatic stable ischemic heart disease

Czarnecki A, Qiu F, Elbaz-Greener G, Cohen EA, Ko DT, Roifman I, Wijeysundera HC. JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2019; 12(3):232-41. Epub 2019 Jan 16.


Objectives — The aims of this study were to assess variation in revascularization of asymptomatic patients with stable ischemic heart disease, identify the predictors of variation, and determine if it was associated with clinical outcomes.

Background — Management of stable ischemic heart disease in asymptomatic patients with obstructive coronary artery disease is controversial, potentially leading to practice variation.

Methods — A retrospective observational cohort study was performed using population-based data from Ontario, Canada, in patients with asymptomatic stable ischemic heart disease and obstructive coronary artery disease. The cohort was divided on the basis of treatment strategy: revascularization or medical therapy. Hospitals were allocated into tertiles of their revascularization ratio. Outcomes included death and nonfatal myocardial infarction. Hierarchical logistic regression was used to assess the predictors of revascularization, with median odds ratios used to quantify variation. Proportional hazards models were used to determine the association between management strategy and outcomes.

Results — The cohort included 9,897 patients, 47% treated with medical therapy and 53% with revascularization. Between hospitals, 2-fold variation existed in the ratio of revascularized to medically treated patients. However, the variation across hospitals was not explained by patient, physician, or hospital factors (median odds ratio in null model: 1.25; median odds ratio in full model: 1.31). Revascularization was associated with a hazard ratio of 0.81 (95% confidence interval: 0.69 to 0.96) for death and a hazard ratio of 0.58 (95% confidence interval: 0.46 to 0.73) for myocardial infarction, with this benefit consistent across tertiles of revascularization ratio.

Conclusions — Wide variation was observed in revascularization practice that was not explained by known factors. Despite this variation, a clinical benefit was observed with revascularization that was consistent across hospitals.

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