Evaluation of paradoxic beneficial effects of smoking in patients receiving thrombolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction: mechanism of the "smoker's paradox" from the GUSTO-I trial, with angiographic insights. Global Utilization of Streptokinase and Tissue-Plasminogen Activator for Occluded Coronary Arteries

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1995 Nov 1;26(5):1222-9. doi: 10.1016/0735-1097(95)00299-5.


Objectives: Our purpose was to evaluate the relation between smoking and the outcomes of patients receiving thrombolysis for acute myocardial infarction.

Background: A paradoxic beneficial effect has been observed in smokers with a myocardial infarction. We analyzed outcomes and baseline characteristics of 11,975 nonsmokers, 11,117 ex-smokers and 17,507 current smokers in a multinational trial of thrombolysis for acute myocardial infarction.

Methods: Patients were randomized to one of four thrombolytic protocols. An angiographic substudy in 2,431 patients evaluated reperfusion, reocclusion and ventricular function. Effects of smoking were evaluated by logistic regression analysis after adjustment for age and gender. A mortality model evaluated the simultaneous effect of baseline characteristics on the prognostic importance of smoking. These processes were performed with data from both the main trial and the angiographic substudy; then angiographic factors (coronary anatomy, patency and ejection fraction) were added to the model.

Results: Smokers were significantly younger by a mean of 11 years) and had less comorbidity or severe coronary artery disease than nonsmokers. Nonsmokers had significantly higher hospital and 30-day mortality rates (9.9% and 10.3%, respectively) than smokers (3.7% vs. 4%, respectively, both p < 0.001) and more in-hospital complications. The unadjusted odds ratio for 30-day mortality in nonsmokers was 3.36 (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.08 to 5.41), 1.21 (95% CI 0.71 to 2.08) after adjustment for age and gender and 1.08 (95% CI 0.59 to 1.96) after adjustment for all clinical baseline characteristics.

Conclusions: Smokers receiving thrombolysis for acute myocardial infarction presented 11 years earlier than nonsmokers, which generally accounted for their better outcome. When other differences in clinical and angiographic baseline factors and therapeutic responses were evaluated, no significant difference in mortality was seen between smokers and nonsmokers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / drug therapy*
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Smoking*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antifibrinolytic Agents