BACKGROUND:Percutaneous transluminal coronary rotational atherectomy (PTCRA) debulks atherosclerotic plaque from coronary arteries using an abrasive burr. On rotation, the burr selectively removes hard tissue. OBJECTIVES:To assess the effects of PTCRA for coronary artery disease in patients with non-complex and complex lesions (e.g., ostial, long, or diffuse lesions or those arising from in-stent restenosis) of the coronary arteries. SEARCH STRATEGY:We searched the Heart Group specialised register, the Cochrane Library to Issue 2, 2001, and MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE and Current Contents to December 2002 and reviewed reference lists for relevant articles. SELECTION CRITERIA:We included randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials of PTCRA compared with placebo, no treatment or another intervention and excluded cross-over trials. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:Data were extracted independently by two authors. We asked authors of trials to provide information when missing data was encountered. Statistical summaries used risk ratios (RR) and weighted mean differences. MAIN RESULTS:We included 9 trials enrolling 3,066 patients. There was no evidence of the effectiveness of PTCRA in non-complex lesions. In complex lesions, there were no statistically significant differences in restenosis rates at 6 months (relative risk 1.00; 95% confidence interval 0.83 to 1.20) and 1 year (relative risk 1.21; 95% confidence interval =0.95 to 1.55) in those receiving PTCRA with adjunctive PTCA (PTCRA/PTCA) compared to those receiving PTCA alone. Morphological characteristics distinguishing complex lesions have not been examined in parallel-arm randomised controlled trials. There is equivocal evidence of the effectiveness of PTCRA in in-stent restenosis. Compared to angioplasty alone, PTCRA/PTCA did not result in a statistically significant increase in the risk of major adverse cardiac events (myocardial infarction, emergency cardiac surgery or death) during the in-hospital period (relative risk 1.19; 95% confidence interval =0.78 to 1.83). Compared to angioplasty, PTCRA was associated with 9 times the risk of an angiographically-detectable vascular spasm (relative risk 9.23; 95% confidence interval 4.61 to 18.47), 4 times the risk of perforation (relative risk 3.87; 95% confidence interval 0.82 to 18.21) and about 2 times the risk of transient vessel occlusions (relative risk 2.28; 95% confidence interval 1.00, 5.19) while angiographic dissections (relative risk 0.49; 95% confidence interval 0.33 to 0.75) and stents used as a bailout procedure (relative risk 0.38; 95% confidence interval 0.22 to 0.65) were less common. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS:When conventional PTCA is feasible, PTCRA appears to confer no additional benefits. There is limited published evidence and no long-term data to support the routine use of PTCRA in in-stent restenosis. In certain circumstances (e.g., patients ineligible for cardiac surgery, those with architecturally complex lesions, or those with lesions that fail PTCA), PTCRA may achieve satisfactory revascularisation in subsequent procedures.