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JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2012 Sep;5(9):906-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jcin.2012.06.008.

Early aggressive versus initially conservative treatment in elderly patients with non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial.

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Azienda Ospedaliera Santa Maria Nuova, IRCCS, Reggio Emilia, Italy.



This study sought to determine the risk versus benefit ratio of an early aggressive (EA) approach in elderly patients with non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes (NSTEACS).


Elderly patients have been scarcely represented in trials comparing treatment strategies in NSTEACS.


A total of 313 patients ≥ 75 years of age (mean 82 years) with NSTEACS within 48 h from qualifying symptoms were randomly allocated to an EA strategy (coronary angiography and, when indicated, revascularization within 72 h) or an initially conservative (IC) strategy (angiography and revascularization only for recurrent ischemia). The primary endpoint was the composite of death, myocardial infarction, disabling stroke, and repeat hospital stay for cardiovascular causes or severe bleeding within 1 year.


During admission, 88% of the patients in the EA group underwent angiography (55% revascularization), compared with 29% (23% revascularization) in the IC group. The primary outcome occurred in 43 patients (27.9%) in the EA group and 55 (34.6%) in the IC group (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.80; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.53 to 1.19; p = 0.26). The rates of mortality (HR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.49 to 1.56), myocardial infarction (HR: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.33 to 1.36), and repeat hospital stay (HR: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.45 to 1.46) did not differ between groups. The primary endpoint was significantly reduced in patients with elevated troponin on admission (HR: 0.43; 95% CI: 0.23 to 0.80), but not in those with normal troponin (HR: 1.67; 95% CI: 0.75 to 3.70; p for interaction = 0.03).


The present study does not allow a definite conclusion about the benefit of an EA approach when applied systematically among elderly patients with NSTEACS. The finding of a significant interaction for the treatment effect according to troponin status at baseline should be confirmed in a larger size trial. (Italian Elderly ACS Study; NCT00510185).

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