Objectives: The aim of the study was to compare randomly assigned primary angioplasty and accelerated recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA), in patients with "high-risk" inferior acute myocardial infarction (ST-segment elevation in the inferior leads and ST-segment depression in the precordial leads).
Background: The ST-segment depression in the precordial leads is a marker of severe prognosis in patients with inferior myocardial infarction. The comparative outcome of treatment with primary angioplasty or lysis with accelerated rt-PA has not been investigated.
Methods: One hundred and ten patients within 6 h of symptoms were randomized to either treatment. To assess the in-hospital and 1-year outcome of both treatments the following results were compared: death or nonfatal infarction, recurrence of angina, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), and the need for repeat target vessel revascularization (TVR).
Results: In patients treated with angioplasty (55) and rt-PA (55) the rate of in-hospital mortality and reinfarction was 3.6% versus 9.1% (p=0.4). Recurrence of angina was 1.8% versus 20% (p=0.002), new TVR was used in 3.6% versus 29.1% (p=0.0003), and the LVEF (%) at discharge was 55.2+/-9.5 versus 48.2+/-9.9 (p=0.0001). There were no hemorrhagic strokes, no emergency coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and identical (5.5%) need for blood transfusions. At 1 year, the incidence of death, reinfarction or repeat TVR was 11% in the percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) group versus 52.7% in the rt-PA group (log-rank 22.38, p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Primary angioplasty is superior to accelerated rt-PA in terms of both myocardial preservation and reduction of in-hospital complications in patients with inferior myocardial infarction and precordial ST-segment depression. Primary angioplasty also yields a better long-term event-free survival.