Objectives: We sought to compare outcomes after primary percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or thrombolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction (MI).
Background: Primary PTCA and thrombolytic therapy are alternative means of achieving reperfusion in patients with acute MI. The Second National Registry of Myocardial Infarction (NRMI-2) offers an opportunity to study the clinical experience with these modalities in a large patient group.
Methods: Data from NRMI-2 were reviewed.
Results: From June 1, 1994 through October 31, 1995, 4,939 nontransfer patients underwent primary PTCA within 12 h of symptom onset, and 24,705 patients received alteplase (recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator [rt-PA]). When lytic-ineligible patients and patients presenting in cardiogenic shock were excluded, baseline characteristics were similar. The median time from presentation to initiation of rt-PA in the thrombolytic group was 42 min; the median time to first balloon inflation in the primary PTCA group was 111 min (p < 0.0001). In-hospital mortality was higher in patients in shock after rt-PA than after PTCA (52% vs. 32%, p < 0.0001). In-hospital mortality was the same in lytic-eligible patients not in shock: 5.4% after rt-PA and 5.2% after PTCA. The stroke rate was higher after lytic therapy (1.6% vs. 0.7% after PTCA, p < 0.0001), but the combined end point of death and nonfatal stroke was not significantly different between the two groups (6.2% after rt-PA and 5.6% after PTCA). There was no difference in the rate of reinfarction (2.9% after rt-PA and 2.5% after PTCA).
Conclusions: These findings suggest that in lytic-eligible patients not in shock, PTCA and rt-PA are comparable alternative methods of reperfusion when analyzed in terms of in-hospital mortality, mortality plus nonfatal stroke and reinfarction.