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EuroIntervention. 2014 Aug;10 Suppl T:T23-31. doi: 10.4244/EIJV10STA5.

Management of ST-elevation myocardial infarction according to European and American guidelines.

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Bern University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland.



To highlight differences between the most recent guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association (ACCF/AHA) on the management of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).


ESC 2012 and ACCF/AHA 2013 guidelines on the management of STEMI were systematically reviewed for consistency. Recommendations were matched, directly compared in terms of class of recommendation and level of evidence, and classified as "identical", "overlapping", or "different". Out of 32 recommendations compared, 26 recommendations (81%) were classified as identical or overlapping, and six recommendations (19%) were classified as different. Most diverging recommendations were related to minor differences in class of recommendation between the two documents. This applies to recommendations for reperfusion therapy >12 hours after symptom onset, immediate transfer of all patients after fibrinolytic therapy, rescue PCI for patients with failed fibrinolysis, and intra-aortic balloon pump use in patients with cardiogenic shock. More substantial differences were observed with respect to the type of P2Y12 inhibitor and duration of dual antiplatelet therapy.


The majority of recommendations for the management of STEMI according to ESC and ACCF/AHA guidelines were identical or overlapping. Differences were explained by gaps in available evidence, in which case expert consensus differed between European and American guidelines due to divergence in interpretation, perception, and culture of medical practice. Systematic comparisons of European and American guidelines are valuable and indicate that interpretation of available evidence leads to agreement in the vast majority of topics. The latter is indirect support for the process of review and guideline preparation on both sides of the Atlantic.

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