Objectives: This study sought to assess the maximal rate of acute Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) grade 3 patency that can be achieved in unselected patients.
Background: Early and complete (TIMI grade 3 flow) reperfusion is an important therapeutic goal during acute myocardial infarction. However, thrombolysis, although widely used, is often contraindicated or ineffective. The selective use of primary and rescue percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) may increase the number of patients receiving reperfusion therapy.
Methods: A cohort of 500 consecutive unselected patients with acute myocardial infarction were prospectively treated using a patency-oriented scheme: Thrombolysis-eligible patients received thrombolysis (n = 257) and underwent 90-min angiography to detect persistent occlusion for treatment with rescue PTCA. Emergency PTCA (n = 193) was attempted in patients with contraindications to thrombolysis, cardiogenic shock or uncertain diagnosis and in a subset of patients admitted under "ideal conditions." A small group of patients (n = 38) underwent acute angiography without PTCA. Conventional medical therapy was used in 12 patients with contraindications to both thrombolysis and PTCA.
Results: Ninety-eight percent of patients received reperfusion therapy (thrombolysis, PTCA or acute angiography), and angiographically proven early TIMI grade 3 patency was achieved in 78%. Among patients with TIMI grade 3 patency, thrombolysis alone was the strategy used in 37%, emergency PTCA in 40% and rescue PTCA after failed thrombolysis in 15%; spontaneous patency occurred in 8%.
Conclusions: Reperfusion therapy can be provided to nearly every patient (98%) with acute myocardial infarction. Rescue and direct PTCA provided effective early reperfusion to patients in whom thrombolysis failed or was excluded.