Application of current guidelines to the management of unstable angina and non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction

Circulation. 2003 Oct 21;108(16 Suppl 1):III28-37. doi: 10.1161/01.CIR.0000086952.14979.32.


Unstable angina/non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (UA/NSTEMI) is a common but heterogeneous disorder with patients exhibiting widely varying risks. Early risk stratification is at the center of the management program and can be achieved using clinical criteria and biomarkers, or a combination. In addition to anti-ischemic therapy and aspirin, the thienopyridine clopidogrel is indicated except in patients who are potential candidates for urgent coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Platelet glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa antagonists are indicated in high-risk patients likely to undergo percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) but are not indicated in the management of lower-risk patients who do not undergo PCI. There is a growing body of evidence to support the substitution of the low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) enoxaparin for unfractionated heparin (UFH). Three recent trials have demonstrated the benefit of an early invasive strategy with catheterization followed by revascularization in patients at high and intermediate risk. Lower-risk patients should undergo early noninvasive stress testing. An intensive program of secondary prevention is mandatory and should be begun before hospital discharge.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Angina, Unstable / diagnosis
  • Angina, Unstable / therapy*
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Disease Management
  • Electrocardiography
  • Eptifibatide
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Myocardial Revascularization / methods
  • Peptides / therapeutic use
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Platelet Glycoprotein GPIIb-IIIa Complex / analysis
  • Platelet Glycoprotein GPIIb-IIIa Complex / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors


  • Anticoagulants
  • Biomarkers
  • Peptides
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Platelet Glycoprotein GPIIb-IIIa Complex
  • Eptifibatide