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Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2012 Mar 1;5(2):205-13. doi: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.111.962332. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

Regional patterns of use of a medical management strategy for patients with non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes: insights from the EARLY ACS Trial.

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Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, NC, USA.



Regional differences in the profile and prognosis of non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome (NSTE ACS) patients treated with medical management after angiography remain uncertain.


Using data from the Early Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa Inhibition in Non-ST-Segment Elevation Acute Coronary Syndromes (EARLY ACS) trial, we examined regional variations in the use of an in-hospital medical management strategy in NSTE ACS patients who had significant coronary artery disease (CAD) identified during angiography, factors associated with the use of a medical management strategy, and 1-year mortality rates. Of 9406 patients, 8387 (89%) underwent angiography and had significant CAD; thereafter, 1766 (21%) were treated solely with a medical management strategy (range: 18% to 23% across 4 major geographic regions). Factors most strongly associated with a medical management strategy were negative baseline troponin values, prior coronary artery bypass grafting, lower baseline hemoglobin values, and greater number of diseased vessels; region was not a significant factor. One-year mortality was higher among patients treated with a medical management strategy compared with those who underwent revascularization (7.8% versus 3.6%; adjusted hazard ratio, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.21-1.76), with no significant interaction by region (interaction probability value=0.42).


Approximately 20% of NSTE ACS patients with significant CAD in an international trial were treated solely with an in-hospital medical management strategy after early angiography, with no regional differences in factors associated with medical management or the risk of 1-year mortality. These findings have important implications for the conduct of future clinical trials, and highlight global similarities in the profile and prognosis of medically managed NSTE ACS patients.


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