Arterial stents mean patients are more likely to be free from angina symptoms


The ORBITA trial, led by researchers funded by the NIHR Imperial BRC Cardiovascular Theme, was the first research study – including over 200 patients with stable angina – where the researchers compared stenting (artery-widening coronary angioplasty with stent or Percutaneous Coronary Intervention) with a simulated procedure but where a stent was not implanted (placebo).

The primary results of the research showed no difference between patients who received a stent or the placebo treatment, in terms of the change to the length of time they could exercise on a treadmill before and after treatment. These results were previously published in The Lancet and reported here.

New secondary analyses of the data allowed the researchers to investigate the number of patients who reported being free from symptoms. The latest results show a benefit of stenting compared to placebo, with more patients who received a stent reporting that they had no angina symptoms at follow-up.

The researchers also reported that patients who had the greatest narrowing of their coronary arteries, had the greatest benefit from stenting in terms of improvement in their heart function because they had the greatest reduction in blood flow, and this was shown using ultrasound scans.

Dr Rasha Al-Lamee, Principal Investigator for the study from the National Heart & Lung Institute at Imperial College London, and an interventional cardiologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said: “From this additional secondary analysis we have some interesting new data. For physicians, this means that one in five patients that we treat with angioplasty versus placebo will be more likely to be free from angina. For our patients, this is one of the most important things we can tell them, that they are more likely to become symptom free.”

The ORBITA-2 trial, with wider inclusion criteria for patients with stable angina is currently underwaymean.

  • Dr Rasha Al-Lamee
    Dr Rasha Al-Lamee
    Clinical Senior Lecturer - Co-Theme Lead
  • Professor Darrel Francis
    Professor Darrel Francis
    Professor of Cardiology
  • Medical Research Council
  • NIHR Clinical Research Network
  • Wellcome Trust