Predictors, Type, and Impact of Bleeding on the Net Clinical Benefit of Long-Term Ticagrelor in Stable Patients With Prior Myocardial Infarction

J Am Heart Assoc. 2021 Feb 16;10(4):e017008. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.120.017008. Epub 2021 Feb 9.


Background Ticagrelor reduces ischemic risk but increases bleeding in patients with prior myocardial infarction. Identification of patients at lower bleeding risk is important in selecting patients who are likely to derive more favorable outcomes versus risk from this strategy. Methods and Results PEGASUS-TIMI 54 (Prevention of Cardiovascular Events in Patients With Prior Heart Attack Using Ticagrelor Compared to Placebo on a Background of Aspirin-Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 54) randomized 21 162 patients with prior myocardial infarction in a 1:1:1 fashion to ticagrelor 60 mg or 90 mg twice daily or placebo, with ticagrelor 60 mg approved for long-term use. TIMI major or minor bleeding was the primary end point for this analysis. Causes of bleeding were categorized by site and etiology, and independent predictors were identified. At 3 years, ticagrelor 60 mg increased the rate of TIMI major or minor bleeding by 2.0% versus placebo (1.4% placebo versus 3.4% ticagrelor). The bleeding excess was driven primarily by spontaneous gastrointestinal bleeds. A history of spontaneous bleeding requiring hospitalization and the presence of anemia were independent predictors of bleeding but not of ischemic risk. Patients with at least 1 risk predictor had 3-fold higher rates of bleeding with ticagrelor 60 mg versus those who had neither (absolute risk increase, 4.4% versus 1.5%; P=0.01). Patients with neither predictor had a more favorable benefit profile with ticagrelor 60 mg versus placebo including lower mortality (hazard ratio, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65-0.96; P interaction = 0.03). Conclusions In patients with prior myocardial infarction, bleeding with ticagrelor 60 mg twice daily is predominantly spontaneous gastrointestinal. A history of spontaneous bleeding requiring hospitalization or the presence of anemia identifies patients at higher risk of bleeding, and the absence of either identifies patients likely to have a more favorable net benefit with ticagrelor. Registration URL Unique identifier: NCT01225562.

Keywords: benefit‐risk ratio; bleeding; long‐term ticagrelor; myocardial infarction.

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