Treatment preferences in patients with left main (LM) stem disease and no prior revascularization are unknown. The objectives of this study were to determine (i) patient-reported importance ratings of particular features related to percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, (ii) how these features determine treatment preference, and (iii) how educational and psychosocial background influence this preference.
In this prospective, multicenter study a total of 500 patients without previous revascularization who underwent diagnostic angiography for suspected coronary disease were asked to complete a case-vignette on a (hypothetical) LM stenosis qualifying for both PCI and CABG, in addition to 6 validated questionnaires to assess the influence of psychosocial factors on treatment preference.
Overall, 90% favored PCI over CABG because of the lower bleeding and stroke risk despite a higher likelihood for repeat revascularization. By multivariable regression, the only independent determinant of treatment preference for CABG was lower educational level (14% in low vs. 8% in higher educated patients, OR: 3.22, CI: 1.16–8.95, p = 0.025) while psychosocial variables were not associated. Compared to higher educated patients, those with lower educational level suffered more from depression, anxiety, loneliness, and uncertainty.
Overall, patients who are informed about risk and benefits of each treatment modality clearly favor PCI over CABG and particularly value lower short-term morbidity while being aware of higher risk of repeat revascularization. Lower educational level was associated with a higher prevalence of psychosomatic phenotypes and a 14% preference for CABG. Educational and psychosocial background matter in the revascularization strategy decision-making process.