Aims: Dual antiplatelet therapy reduces non-fatal ischaemic events after acute coronary syndrome (ACS) but increases bleeding to a similar extent. We sought to determine the prognostic impact of myocardial infarction (MI) vs. bleeding during an extended follow-up period to gain insight into the trade-off between efficacy and safety among patients after ACS.
Methods and results: In 12 944 patients with non-ST-segment elevation ACS from the Thrombin Receptor Antagonist for Clinical Event Reduction in Acute Coronary Syndrome (TRACER) trial, we investigated the relative impact of MI and bleeding occurring >30 days post-ACS and subsequent all-cause mortality. Bleeding was graded according to Bleeding Academic Research Consortium (BARC) criteria. MI was associated with a five-fold increase in mortality. BARC type 2 and 3, but not type 1, bleeding had a significant impact on mortality. MI was associated with a greater risk of mortality compared with BARC 2 [relative risk (RR) 3.5; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.08-4.77; P < 0.001] and BARC 3a bleeding (RR 2.23; 95% CI 1.36-3.64; P = 0.001), and a risk similar to BARC 3b bleeding (RR 1.37; 95% CI 0.81-2.30; P = 0.242). Risk of death after MI was significantly lower than after BARC 3c bleeding (RR 0.22; 95% CI 0.13-0.36; P < 0.001). MI and bleeding had similar time-associations with mortality, which remained significant for several months, still being higher early after the event.
Conclusion: In patients treated with antiplatelet therapy after ACS, both MI and bleeding significantly impacted mortality with similar time-dependency. Although BARC 2 and 3a bleeding were less prognostic for death than MI, the risk of mortality was equivalent between BARC 3b bleeding and MI, and was higher following BARC 3c bleeding.
Keywords: Acute coronary syndrome; Bleeding; DAPT; Myocardial infarction.
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