Aims: There remains significant concern about the long-term safety of drug-eluting stents (DES). However, bare metal stents (BMS) have been used safely for over two decades. There is therefore a pressing need to explore alternative strategies for reducing restenosis with BMS. This study was designed to examine whether IVUS-guided cutting balloon angioplasty (CBA) with BMS could convey similar restenosis rates to DES. Methods and results: In the randomised REstenosis reDUction by Cutting balloon angioplasty Evaluation (REDUCE III) study, 521 patients were divided into four groups based on device and IVUS use before BMS (IVUS-CBA-BMS: 137 patients; Angio-CBA-BMS: 123; IVUS-BA-BMS: 142; and Angio-BA-BMS: 119). At follow-up, the IVUS-CBA-BMS group had a significantly lower restenosis rate (6.6%) than the other groups (p=0.016). We performed a quantitative coronary angiography (QCA) based matched comparison between an IVUS-guided CBA-BMS strategy (REDUCE III) and a DES strategy (Rapamycin-Eluting-Stent Evaluation At Rotterdam Cardiology Hospital, the RESEARCH study). We matched the presence of diabetes, vessel size, and lesion severity by QCA. Restenosis (>50% diameter stenosis at follow-up) and target vessel revascularisation (TVR) were examined. QCA-matched comparison resulted in 120-paired lesions. While acute gain was significantly greater in IVUS-CBA-BMS than DES (1.65±0.41 mm vs. 1.28±0.57 mm, p=0.001), late loss was significantly less with DES than with IVUS-CBA-BMS (0.03±0.42 mm vs. 0.80±0.47 mm, p=0.001). However, no difference was found in restenosis rates (IVUS-CBA-BMS: 6.6% vs. DES: 5.0%, p=0.582) and TVR (6.6% and 6.6%, respectively). Conclusions: An IVUS-guided CBA-BMS strategy yielded restenosis rates similar to those achieved by DES and provided an effective alternative to the use of DES.
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