Aims: Prompt coronary reperfusion following acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction is pivotal to survival. Primary angioplasty is the gold standard in restoring reperfusion, but thrombolysis needs consideration when optimal call to balloon time is not feasible. Following lysis and with evolving pharmacoinvasive therapies, the advantage of routine, early percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) over standard ischaemia-guided PCI remains debatable. We meta-analysed studies comparing these two interventional strategies.
Methods and results: A MEDLINE search for randomized control studies was performed using the search terms 'coronary, thrombolysis, early or immediate stenting, and acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction'. Further, relevant studies were identified from global cardiovascular scientific sessions/congresses. Two interventional strategies were studied in 3195 patients in eight trials and meta-analysed using a random effects model. The combined endpoint of 30-day mortality, re-infarction, and ischaemia was reached in 106/1487 (7.3%) patients in the routine early PCI group and in 199/1470 (13.5%) patients in the ischaemia-guided PCI group following lysis with odds ratio (OR) 0.47 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.32-0.68, P < 0.0001] favouring routine early PCI, driven by significant reduction in both re-infarction OR 0.62 (95% CI, 0.42-0.90, P < 0.011) and ischaemia OR 0.21 (95% CI, 0.10-0.47, P < 0.001). Thirty-day mortality or major bleeding rates between strategies were not significantly different.
Conclusion: Where primary PCI is not feasible, our meta-analysis favours routine early PCI within 24 h of thrombolysis for acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction-a strategy that is safe and a time-target that is easily achievable. Early PCI is associated with reduced recurrence of ischaemia and re-infarction, but at no increased risk of major haemorrhage.