Background: Despite the widespread use of intravenous thrombolytic therapy and of immediate percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction, randomized comparisons of the two approaches to reperfusion are lacking. We report the results of a prospective, randomized trial comparing immediate coronary angioplasty (without previous thrombolytic therapy) with intravenous streptokinase treatment.
Methods: A total of 142 patients with acute myocardial infarction were randomly assigned to receive one of the two treatments. The left ventricular ejection fraction was measured by radionuclide scanning before hospital discharge. Quantitative coronary angiography was performed to assess the degree of residual stenosis in the infarct-related arteries.
Results: A total of 72 patients were assigned to receive streptokinase and 70 patients to undergo immediate angioplasty. Angioplasty was technically successful in 64 of the 65 patients who underwent the procedure. Infarction recurred in nine patients assigned to receive streptokinase, but in none of those assigned to receive angioplasty (P = 0.003). Fourteen patients in the streptokinase group had unstable angina after their infarction, but only four in the angioplasty group (P = 0.02). The mean (+/- SD) left ventricular ejection fraction as measured before discharge was 45 +/- 12 percent in the streptokinase group and 51 +/- 11 percent in the angioplasty group (P = 0.004). The infarct-related artery was patent in 68 percent of the patients in the streptokinase group and 91 percent of those in the angioplasty group (P = 0.001). Quantitative coronary angiography revealed stenosis of 36 +/- 20 percent of the luminal diameter in the angioplasty group, as compared with 76 +/- 19 percent in the streptokinase group (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Immediate angioplasty after acute myocardial infarction was associated with a higher rate of patency of the infarct-related artery, a less severe residual stenotic lesion, better left ventricular function, and less recurrent myocardial ischemia and infarction than was intravenous streptokinase.