Clinical trials Medicine

Do angioplasties and coronary stenting improve symptoms in patients with angina?

Last week, the results of ORBITA were published. This clinical trial tested coronary angioplasty and stenting versus optimal medical management in patients with single-vessel coronary artery disease. It was a resoundingly negative trial, meaning that adding stenting to drug management didn’t result in detectable clinical improvement. What was distinctive about this trial is that it used a sham procedure (i.e., placebo) control, which few trials testing surgery or a procedure use. The results of ORBITA emphasize how important sham procedure controls are, whenever they can be ethically used, and how resistant physicians can be to change.