Context: Enoxaparin has demonstrated advantages over unfractionated heparin in low- to moderate-risk patients with non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes (ACS) treated with a conservative strategy.
Objectives: To compare the outcomes of patients treated with enoxaparin vs unfractionated heparin and to define the role of enoxaparin in patients with non-ST-segment elevation ACS at high risk for ischemic cardiac complications managed with an early invasive approach.
Design, setting, and participants: The Superior Yield of the New Strategy of Enoxaparin, Revascularization and Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa Inhibitors (SYNERGY) trial was a prospective, randomized, open-label, multicenter, international trial conducted between August 2001 and December 2003. A total of 10 027 high-risk patients with non-ST-segment elevation ACS to be treated with an intended early invasive strategy were recruited.
Interventions: Subcutaneous enoxaparin (n = 4993) or intravenous unfractionated heparin (n = 4985) was to be administered immediately after enrollment and continued until the patient required no further anticoagulation, as judged by the treating physician.
Main outcome measures: The primary efficacy outcome was the composite clinical end point of all-cause death or nonfatal myocardial infarction during the first 30 days after randomization. The primary safety outcome was major bleeding or stroke.
Results: The primary end point occurred in 14.0% (696/4993) of patients assigned to enoxaparin and 14.5% (722/4985) of patients assigned to unfractionated heparin (odds ratio [OR], 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.86-1.06). No differences in ischemic events during percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) were observed between enoxaparin and unfractionated heparin groups, respectively, including similar rates of abrupt closure (31/2321 [1.3%] vs 40/2364 [1.7%]), threatened abrupt closure (25/2321 [1.1%] vs 24/2363 [1.0%]), unsuccessful PCI (81/2281 [3.6%] vs 79/2328 [3.4%]), or emergency coronary artery bypass graft surgery (6/2323 [0.3%] vs 8/2363 [0.3%]). More bleeding was observed with enoxaparin, with a statistically significant increase in TIMI (Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction) major bleeding (9.1% vs 7.6%, P =.008) but nonsignificant excess in GUSTO (Global Utilization of Streptokinase and t-PA for Occluded Arteries) severe bleeding (2.7% vs 2.2%, P =.08) and transfusions (17.0% vs 16.0%, P =.16).
Conclusions: Enoxaparin was not superior to unfractionated heparin but was noninferior for the treatment of high-risk patients with non-ST-segment elevation ACS. Enoxaparin is a safe and effective alternative to unfractionated heparin and the advantages of convenience should be balanced with the modest excess of major bleeding.