A comparison of quality of life scores in patients with angina pectoris after angioplasty compared with after medical therapy. Outcomes of a randomized clinical trial. Veterans Affairs Study of Angioplasty Compared to Medical Therapy Investigators.
BACKGROUND: Evaluations of therapy for the treatment of angina have traditionally consisted of a combination of objective measures, such as exercise tolerance, and subjective markers, such as angina attack rate. Recently, the need to assess "how patients feel"--their quality of life (QOL)--has been regarded with increasing importance. Standard instruments are available to assess QOL and its change after therapeutic intervention. Although QOL instruments have been used to assess the efficacy of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), they have not been used previously to compare the impact of PTCA with that of medical therapy in patients with angina pectoris. We report on the changes in self-assessed QOL among patients randomly assigned to treatment by PTCA or medical therapy and relate these measurements to changes in exercise performance and coronary angiograms. METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients with stable angina, a positive exercise tolerance test, and at least 70% stenosis (index lesion) in the proximal two thirds of one major coronary artery were randomly assigned to receive PTCA or medical therapy. Six months after randomization, each patient underwent repeat exercise testing and coronary angiography. Before randomization and at the 6-month visit, patients completed a self-administered QOL questionnaire that measured physical functioning and psychological well-being. We compared the changes in QOL with changes between the baseline and 6-month exercise tests, stratified by terciles (decrease in duration, 0- to 2-minute increase, and > 2-minute improvement). We also stratified patients by whether there was more or less than 2 SD change (18.8%) in diameter stenosis of the index lesion (initial minus follow-up angiogram), and we related these to changes in QOL measures. One hundred eighty-two patients with one-vessel disease completed baseline and 6-month questionnaires. At baseline, there were no differences in any QOL measurements between treatment groups. At the 6-month follow-up visit, there was greater improvement in both physical functioning and psychological well-being scores for patients receiving PTCA (+7.36 +/- 15.6, PTCA; +1.98 +/- 14.7, medical therapy; P < .02). Improvement in QOL variables was noted only in patients demonstrating an increase in exercise performance. Also, patients assigned to either treatment whose angiograms demonstrated more than 18.8% improvement in index lesion percent stenosis experienced a significant increase in their QOL scores. CONCLUSIONS: This was the first study of the relative changes in QOL measures assessed with the use of previously validated and standardized instruments in patients randomly assigned to treatment with PTCA or medical therapy. Patients assigned to PTCA demonstrated a significantly greater improvement in both physical and psychological measures. This improvement was noted in patients whose exercise performance improved and whose angiograms demonstrated an improvement in lesion severity.
Strauss, WE; Fortin, T; Hartigan, P; Folland, ED; Parisi, AF
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