Reconsidering the Gatekeeper Paradigm for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention in Stable Coronary Disease Management

      Major randomized clinical trials over the last decade support the role of optimal medical therapy for the initial management approach for patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD), whereas percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) ought to be reserved for patients with persistent symptoms despite optimal medical therapy. Likewise, several studies have continued to demonstrate the superiority of coronary artery bypass grafting surgery over PCI in many patients with extensive multivessel CAD, especially those with diabetes. Nevertheless, the decision-making paradigm for patients with stable CAD often continues to propagate the upfront use of “ad hoc PCI” and disadvantages alternative therapeutic approaches. In our editorial, we discuss how multiple systemic and interpersonal factors continue to favor early revascularization with PCI in stable patients. We discuss whether the interventional cardiologist can be an unbiased “gatekeeper” for the use of PCI or whether other physicians should also be involved with the patient in decision-making. Finally, we offer suggestions that can redefine the gatekeeper role to facilitate an evidence-based approach that embraces shared decision-making.
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