Background: The relationship between myocardial salvage and time-to-treatment interval in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) treated with coronary artery stenting or thrombolysis has not been studied.
Methods and results: This study analyzed 264 patients with AMI randomized to coronary stenting (133 patients) or thrombolysis (131 patients) in the setting of 2 randomized trials. Patients were divided into the following 3 groups defined by tertiles of the time-to-treatment interval: lower tertile (<165 minutes), middle tertile (165 to 280 minutes), and upper tertile (>280 minutes). Paired scintigraphic examinations were performed to obtain salvage index, which was the primary end point of the study. In the group with thrombolysis, the salvage index (median [25th; 75th] percentile) was 0.45 (0.16; 0.83) in the lower, 0.29 (0.17; 0.48) in the middle, and 0.20 (0.04; 0.46) in the upper tertile (P=0.03). In the group with stenting, the salvage index was 0.56 (0.49; 0.75) in the lower, 0.57 (0.36; 0.73) in the middle, and 0.57 (0.32; 0.75) in the upper tertile (P=0.59). In patients treated with stenting, the salvage index was greater than in patients treated with thrombolysis in the lower (0.56 versus 0.45, P=0.09), middle (0.57 versus 0.29, P=0.0003), and upper (0.57 versus 0.20, P=0.0005) tertiles of the time-to-treatment interval.
Conclusions: The influence of the time-to-treatment interval on the myocardial salvage in patients with AMI depends on the type of reperfusion therapy. Coronary artery stenting was superior to thrombolysis independent of the time-to-treatment intervals, and the difference in benefit increased with more prolonged time from symptom onset.