Aims: To determine characteristics, outcomes, prognostic indicators and management of patients with acute coronary syndromes without ST elevation.
Methods and results: A prospective registry was carried out with follow-up for 6 months after index hospital admission. A history of acute cardiac chest pain was required plus ECG changes consistent with myocardial ischaemia and/or prior evidence of coronary heart disease. Patients with ST elevation or those receiving thrombolytic therapy were excluded. A total of 1046 patients were enrolled from 56 U.K. hospitals. The mean age was 66+/-12 years and 39% were female. The rate of death or non-fatal myocardial infarction at 6 months was 12.2% and of death, new myocardial infarction, refractory angina or re-admission for unstable angina at 6 months was 30%. In a multivariate analysis, patients >70 years had a threefold risk of death or new myocardial infarction compared with those <60 years (P<0.01) and those with ST depression or bundle branch block on the ECG had a five-fold greater risk than those with normal ECG (P<0.001). Aspirin was given to 87% and heparin to 72% of patients in hospital. At 6 months 56% received no lipid-lowering therapy at all. The 6-month rate of coronary angiography was 27% and any revascularization 15%.
Conclusions: In this cohort there was a one in eight chance of death or myocardial infarction, and a one in three chance of death, new myocardial infarction, refractory angina or re-admission for unstable angina, over 6 months. Age and baseline ECG were useful markers of risk. Aspirin, heparin and statins were not given to about one-sixth, one-third and one-half respectively. Rates of angiography and revascularization appear low. A review of treatment strategies of unstable angina and myocardial infarction without ST elevation is warranted in the U.K. to ensure that patients are receiving optimum treatments to reduce mortality and morbidity.
Copyright 2000 The European Society of Cardiology.