Background: It is not known whether prehospital fibrinolysis, coupled with timely coronary angiography, provides a clinical outcome similar to that with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) early after acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
Methods: Among 1892 patients with STEMI who presented within 3 hours after symptom onset and who were unable to undergo primary PCI within 1 hour, patients were randomly assigned to undergo either primary PCI or fibrinolytic therapy with bolus tenecteplase (amended to half dose in patients ≥75 years of age), clopidogrel, and enoxaparin before transport to a PCI-capable hospital. Emergency coronary angiography was performed if fibrinolysis failed; otherwise, angiography was performed 6 to 24 hours after randomization. The primary end point was a composite of death, shock, congestive heart failure, or reinfarction up to 30 days.
Results: The primary end point occurred in 116 of 939 patients (12.4%) in the fibrinolysis group and in 135 of 943 patients (14.3%) in the primary PCI group (relative risk in the fibrinolysis group, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.68 to 1.09; P=0.21). Emergency angiography was required in 36.3% of patients in the fibrinolysis group, whereas the remainder of patients underwent angiography at a median of 17 hours after randomization. More intracranial hemorrhages occurred in the fibrinolysis group than in the primary PCI group (1.0% vs. 0.2%, P=0.04; after protocol amendment, 0.5% vs. 0.3%, P=0.45). The rates of nonintracranial bleeding were similar in the two groups.
Conclusions: Prehospital fibrinolysis with timely coronary angiography resulted in effective reperfusion in patients with early STEMI who could not undergo primary PCI within 1 hour after the first medical contact. However, fibrinolysis was associated with a slightly increased risk of intracranial bleeding. (Funded by Boehringer Ingelheim; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00623623.).