Background: Primary percutaneous coronary intervention ([PCI], percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty+stenting) for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is regarded as superior to fibrinolysis even if it means that patients need to be transferred from one center to another to undergo the procedure. However, this inevitable delay between symptom onset and PCI, caused by the time required to travel, might increase the occurrence of cardiac events. A hybrid method called facilitated PCI uses fibrinolysis and/or glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa inhibitors before transfer to a tertiary medical center where urgent PCI might be performed. This approach, however, has not been systematically evaluated.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness (combined end point of in-hospital mortality, reinfarction, stroke, or emergency revascularization) and cost-effectiveness of utilizing a bolus thrombolytic agent with GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor followed by transfer to a tertiary institution for facilitated PCI or standard of care transfer without primary PCI drugs among patients presenting to a community hospital with STEMI.
Methods: This was a prospective, single-center, cohort study comprising data from STEMI patients transferred from community hospitals to Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut, from the years 2000 to 2003. At the time of analysis, patients receiving primary PCI were matched (1:1) with those receiving facilitated PCI, utilizing propensity scores to assure similar demographics. The combined incidence of major adverse cardiac end points (MACE) and total hospital costs was compared between groups. Non-parametric bootstrapping was conducted to calculate CIs for the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio and generate a quadrant analysis.
Results: Based on 254 propensity score-matched patients (127 facilitated PCI and 127 primary PCI), in-hospital MACE and total hospital costs were reduced by 61.3% and US 4563 dollars (2005), respectively, in patients receiving facilitated compared with primary PCI (P=0.021 and P=NS, respectively). Patients receiving facilitated PCI were more likely to have target lesion Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) III (normal) blood flow on cardiac catheterization than those receiving primary PCI (49.6% vs 30.7%; P=0.002). However, the rate of TIMI bleeding was similar in both groups (21.3% in the facilitated PCI group vs 18.9% in the primary PCI group). Nonsignificant reductions were observed in both intensive care unit (ICU) and total length of stay (LOS) (0.8 day and 1.0 day, respectively) compared with the primary PCI group. Bootstrap analysis revealed that of 25,000 samplings, facilitated PCI would likely be both more effective and less costly 94.6% of the time.
Conclusions: The use of facilitated PCI in STEMI patients who initially presented to community hospitals and were transferred for PCI appeared to significantly reduce the incidence of MACE, and increase the likelihood of having baseline TIMI III blood flow at time of catheterization. Nonsignificant reductions were observed in total ICU and hospital LOS. However, there did not appear to be a significant effect on the incidence of bleeding in patients receiving facilitated PCI. Bootstrap analysis confirmed that facilitated PCI would be both a more effective and less costly strategy.