Background: The aim of this study was to analyze 28-day case fatality trends between 1978 and 1993 among hospitalized acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients in the REGICOR registry, Gerona, Spain, and relate them to thrombolytic and antiplatelet drug use and changes in patient characteristics.
Methods and results: A total of 2053 consecutive patients 25 to 74 years of age with a first Q-wave AMI admitted to the reference hospital between 1978 and 1993 were registered. Clinical characteristics and patient management were recorded. Four 4-year periods were considered: 1978 to 1981, 1982 to 1985 (prethrombolytic therapy), 1986 to 1989 (thrombolytic and antiplatelet drugs introduced), and 1990 to 1993 (thrombolytic and antiplatelet drugs used routinely). The end point was death at 28 days. Case fatality at 28 days decreased 6% per year between 1978 and 1993. A logistic model adjusted for comorbidity and severity showed the last 3 periods to present a steep decrease in the OR of death at 28 days: 0.86 (95% CI, 0.52 to 1.41), 0.59 (95% CI, 0.35 to 0.99), and 0.40 (95% CI, 0.24 to 0.69), respectively, compared with the first period. After 1986, 85.7% of the 112 lives saved could be attributed to the use of antiplatelet and thrombolytic drugs. Adjusted relative risk reduction was 56.0% for antiplatelet drugs, 34.1% for thrombolytic drugs, and 77.9% for the 2 combined.
Conclusions: Our results strongly suggest that new therapies introduced since 1986 have contributed to the decrease in 28-day case fatality of patients admitted with a first Q-wave AMI. This decrease could be attributable mainly to the use of antiplatelet and thrombolytic drugs. These findings should encourage the routine use of thrombolytic and antiplatelet drugs and particularly their combination in the acute phase of AMI.