Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess whether the immediate availability of serum markers would increase the appropriate use of thrombolytic therapy.
Background: Serum markers such as myoglobin and creatine kinase, MB fraction (CK-MB) are effective in detecting acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in the emergency setting. Appropriate candidates for thrombolytic therapy are not always identified in the emergency department (ED), as 20% to 30% of eligible patients go untreated, representing 10% to 15% of all patients with AMI. Patients presenting with chest pain consistent with acute coronary syndrome were evaluated in the EDs of 12 hospitals throughout North America.
Methods: In this randomized, controlled clinical trial, physicians received either the immediate myoglobin/CK-MB results at 0 and 1 h after enrollment (stat) or conventional reporting of myoglobin/CK-MB 3 h or more after hospital admission (control). The primary end point was the comparison of the proportion of patients within the stat group versus control group who received appropriate thrombolytic therapy. Secondary end points included the emergent use of any reperfusion treatment in both groups, initial hospital disposition of patients (coronary care unit, monitor or nonmonitor beds) and the proportion of patients appropriately discharged from the ED.
Results: Of 6,352 patients enrolled, 814 (12.8%) were diagnosed as having AMI. For patients having AMI, there were no statistically significant differences in the proportion of patients treated with thrombolytic therapy between the stat and control groups (15.1% vs. 17.1%, p = 0.45). When only patients with ST segment elevation on their initial electrocardiogram were compared, there were still no significant differences between the groups. Also, there was no difference in the hospital placement of patients in critical care and non- critical care beds. The availability of early markers was associated with more hospital admissions as compared to the control group, as the number of patients discharged from the ED was decreased in the stat versus control groups (28.4% vs. 31.5%, p = 0.023).
Conclusions: The availability of 0- and 1-h myoglobin and CK-MB results after ED evaluation had no effect on the use of thrombolytic therapy for patients presenting with AMI, and it slightly increased the number of patients admitted to the hospital who had no evidence of acute myocardial necrosis.