OBJECTIVE: This meta-analysis was performed to assess the efficacy and safety of bivalirudin compared with unfractionated heparin or enoxaparin plus glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa inhibitors in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). BACKGROUND: Pharmacotherapy for patients undergoing PCI includes bivalirudin, heparin, and GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors. We sought to compare ischemic and bleeding outcomes with bivalirudin versus heparin plus GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors in patients undergoing PCI. METHODS: A literature search was conducted to identify fully published randomized trials that compared bivalirudin with heparin plus GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors in patients undergoing PCI. RESULTS: A total of 19,772 patients in 5 clinical trials were included in the analysis (9785 patients received bivalirudin and 9987 patients received heparin plus GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors during PCI). Anticoagulation with bivalirudin, as compared with heparin plus glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors, results in no difference in major adverse cardiovascular events (odds ratio [OR] 1.07, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.96 to 1.19), death (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.21), or urgent revascularization (OR 1.06, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.30). There is a trend towards a higher risk of myocardial infarction (OR 1.12, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.28) but a significantly lower risk of TIMI major bleeding with bivalirudin (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.69). CONCLUSION: In patients who undergo PCI, anticoagulation with bivalirudin as compared with unfractionated heparin or enoxaparin plus GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors results in similar ischemic adverse events but a reduction in major bleeding.