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N Engl J Med. 2008 Feb 7;358(6):557-67. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa0706416.

Thrombus aspiration during primary percutaneous coronary intervention.

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Thorax Center, Department of Cardiology, Triadegebouw, Gang LM1.004, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands.



Primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is effective in opening the infarct-related artery in patients with myocardial infarction with ST-segment elevation. However, the embolization of atherothrombotic debris induces microvascular obstruction and diminishes myocardial reperfusion.


We performed a randomized trial assessing whether manual aspiration was superior to conventional treatment during primary PCI. A total of 1071 patients were randomly assigned to the thrombus-aspiration group or the conventional-PCI group before undergoing coronary angiography. Aspiration was considered to be successful if there was histopathological evidence of atherothrombotic material. We assessed angiographic and electrocardiographic signs of myocardial reperfusion, as well as clinical outcome. The primary end point was a myocardial blush grade of 0 or 1 (defined as absent or minimal myocardial reperfusion, respectively).


A myocardial blush grade of 0 or 1 occurred in 17.1% of the patients in the thrombus-aspiration group and in 26.3% of those in the conventional-PCI group (P<0.001). Complete resolution of ST-segment elevation occurred in 56.6% and 44.2% of patients, respectively (P<0.001). The benefit did not show heterogeneity among the baseline levels of the prespecified covariates. At 30 days, the rate of death in patients with a myocardial blush grade of 0 or 1, 2, and 3 was 5.2%, 2.9%, and 1.0%, respectively (P=0.003), and the rate of adverse events was 14.1%, 8.8%, and 4.2%, respectively (P<0.001). Histopathological examination confirmed successful aspiration in 72.9% of patients.


Thrombus aspiration is applicable in a large majority of patients with myocardial infarction with ST-segment elevation, and it results in better reperfusion and clinical outcomes than conventional PCI, irrespective of clinical and angiographic characteristics at baseline. (Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN16716833.)

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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