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Cardiol Clin. 1989 Nov;7(4):837-51.

Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty for acute myocardial infarction.

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Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.


Studies have suggested that intracoronary and intravenous thrombolysis and emergency PTCA result in decreased infarct size, improved left ventricular function, and decreased in-hospital mortality. Significant problems remain with all three treatment modalities. Thrombolysis is associated with significant bleeding, especially if acute catheterization also is performed. The intracoronary method of thrombolysis requires cardiac catheterization facilities and entails a significant delay in reperfusion. Lower rates of reperfusion initially were found with intravenous than intracoronary streptokinase, but the intravenous administration of t-PA has been associated with a reperfusion rate (75 per cent) similar to that of intracoronary streptokinase. Significant bleeding complications occur with t-PA just as with streptokinase. Furthermore, there are patients in whom thrombolysis is contraindicated because of the high risk of life-threatening hemorrhagic complications. Once thrombolysis is achieved, an underlying significant coronary artery lesion usually is present so that a significant risk of recurrent ischemia and/or reinfarction still exists. In controlled studies, the addition of cardiac catheterization and angioplasty after thrombolytic therapy is associated with a further increase in significant bleeding episodes. Also, in low-risk subgroups of patients randomized to emergency angioplasty versus elective angioplasty or noninvasive treatment after thrombolytic therapy, the complications of angioplasty may outweigh the benefits of further reduction in lesion severity. Potential problems of emergency angioplasty following thrombolytic therapy include: (1) hemorrhage into ischemic myocardium, which may have a deleterious effect on ultimate muscle recovery; (2) hemorrhage at the angioplasty site caused by thrombolytic therapy, with a resultant increased chance of occlusion of the vessel post-angioplasty, and (3) production of reperfusion arrhythmias and hypotension, predisposing to vessel reclosure and infarct extension. With primary angioplasty therapy, the reperfusion success rate is 85 to 90 per cent. This is higher than the approximately 75 per cent success rate with thrombolytic therapy alone. If angioplasty can be performed expeditiously, within 6 hours of the onset of ischemia, potential advantages of this technique include: (1) rapid reperfusion, possibly comparable to thrombolytic therapy alone; (2) higher success rate for reperfusion than thrombolytic therapy; (3) alleviation of underlying stenosis usually present after thrombolytic therapy alone; (4) avoidance of systemic thrombolysis, with a concomitant decrease in hemorrhagic risk; (5) possible avoidance of hemorrhagic infarction, which may have a deleterious effect on ultimate muscle recovery; and (6) applicability to patients in cardiogenic shock, who presently respond poorly to thrombolytic therapy alone. No large controlled randomized study exists comparing primary angioplasty with thr.

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