Aims: Dual-antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) with aspirin and a potent P2Y12 inhibitor is the standard treatment for patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). De-escalation of the potent P2Y12 inhibtor is an appealing concept to balance the ischaemic and bleeding risks after PCI. An individual patient data meta-analysis was performed to compare de-escalation versus standard DAPT in patients with ACS.
Methods and results: Electronic databases, including PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane database, were searched to identify randomised clinical trials (RCTs) comparing the de-escalation strategy with the standard DAPT after PCI in patients with ACS. Individual patient-level data were collected from the relevant trials. The co-primary endpoints of interest were the ischaemic composite endpoint (a composite of cardiac death, myocardial infarction, and cerebrovascular events) and bleeding endpoint (any bleeding) at 1-year post-PCI. Four RCTs (the TROPICAL-ACS, POPular Genetics, HOST-REDUCE-POLYTECH-ACS, and TALOS-AMI trials) including 10 133 patients were analysed. The ischaemic endpoint was significantly lower in the patients assigned to the de-escalation strategy than in those assigned to the standard strategy (2.3% vs. 3.0%, hazard ratio [HR] 0.761, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.597-0.972, log rank P = 0.029). Bleeding was also significantly lower in the de-escalation strategy group (6.5% vs. 9.1%, HR 0.701, 95% CI 0.606-0.811, log rank P < 0.001). No significant intergroup differences were observed in terms of all-cause death and major bleeding events. Subgroup analyses revealed that compared to guided de-escalation, unguided de-escalation had a significantly larger impact on bleeding endpoint reduction (P for interaction = 0.007); no intergroup differences were observed for the ischaemic endpoints.
Conclusion: In this individual patient data meta-analysis, DAPT-based de-escalation was associated with both decreased ischaemic and bleeding endpoints. Reduction in bleeding endpoints was more prominent for the unguided than the guided de-escalation strategy.
Study registration number: This study was registered in the PROSPERO (ID: CRD42021245477).
Keywords: Acute coronary syndrome; Antiplatelet therapy; Bleeding outcome; De-escalation; Ischemic outcome.
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