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JAMA. 2003 Sep 24;290(12):1593-9.

Evaluation of prolonged antithrombotic pretreatment ("cooling-off" strategy) before intervention in patients with unstable coronary syndromes: a randomized controlled trial.

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Medizinische Klinik, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany.



In unstable coronary syndromes, catheter intervention is frequently preceded by antithrombotic treatment to reduce periprocedural risk; however, evidence from clinical trials to support antithrombotic pretreatment is sparse.


To test the hypothesis that prolonged antithrombotic pretreatment improves the outcome of catheter intervention in patients with acute unstable coronary syndromes compared with early intervention.


Randomized controlled trial conducted from February 27, 2000, to April 8, 2002, and including patients admitted to 2 German tertiary care centers with symptoms of unstable angina plus either ST-segment depression or elevation of cardiac troponin T levels.


Patients were randomly allocated to antithrombotic pretreatment for 3 to 5 days or to early intervention after pretreatment for less than 6 hours. In both groups, antithrombotic pretreatment consisted of intravenous unfractionated heparin (60-U/kg bolus followed by infusion adjusted to maintain partial thromboplastin time of 60 to 85 seconds), aspirin (500-mg intravenous bolus followed by 100-mg twice-daily oral dose), oral clopidogrel (600-mg loading dose followed by 75-mg twice-daily dose), and intravenous tirofiban (10- microg/kg bolus followed by continuous infusion of 0.10 microg/kg per min).


Composite 30-day incidence of large nonfatal myocardial infarction or death from any cause.


Of the 410 patients enrolled, 207 were allocated to receive prolonged antithrombotic pretreatment and 203 to receive early intervention. Elevated levels of cardiac troponin T were present in 274 patients (67%), while 268 (65%) had ST-segment depression. The antithrombotic pretreatment and the early intervention groups were well matched with respect to major baseline characteristics and definitive treatment (catheter revascularization: 133 [64.3%] vs 143 [70.4%], respectively; coronary artery bypass graft surgery: 16 [7.7%] vs 16 [7.9%]). The primary end point was reached in 11.6% (3 deaths, 21 infarctions) of the group receiving prolonged antithrombotic pretreatment and in 5.9% (no deaths, 12 infarctions) of the group receiving early intervention (relative risk, 1.96 [95% confidence interval, 1.01-3.82]; P =.04). This outcome was attributable to events occurring before catheterization; after catheterization, both groups incurred 11 events each (P =.92).


In patients with unstable coronary syndromes, deferral of intervention for prolonged antithrombotic pretreatment does not improve the outcome compared with immediate intervention accompanied by intense antiplatelet treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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