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Eur Heart J. 1996 Aug;17(8):1199-206.

Long-term survival after myocardial infarction: relationship with thrombolysis and discharge medication. Results of the Augsburg Myocardial Infarction Follow-up Study 1985 to 1993.

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Department of Internal Medicine II---Cardiology, University of Ulm, Germany.


A large number of randomized clinical trials have shown that thrombolysis, long-term treatment with beta-blockers, antiplatelet drugs, and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors improve survival after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However, for calcium channel blockers (nifedipine, diltiazem, and verapamil) there was either no benefit, or positive effects have been reported in subgroups only. Recent studies have raised concern about the safety of this drug class, especially in patients with coronary heart disease. We studied the long-term survival, for a median follow-up time of 4.4 years, of 1197 non-diabetic patients in the population-based AMI registry in Augsburg, Germany, aged 25-74 years, who had survived a first Q wave acute myocardial infarction for at least 28 days. The impact of thrombolysis and prescribed medication at discharge (beta-blockers, antiplatelet drugs, and calcium channel blockers) on long-term survival was analysed using the Cox-Proportional-Hazard model, controlling for age, sex, and concomitant cardiac drug use. Thrombolysis (risk ratio, RR, 0.72; 95% confidence interval, CI, 0.48-1.08), long-term beta-blockade (RR 0.52; 95% CI 0.36-0.74) and antiplatelet drug use (RR 0.69; 95% CI 0.50-0.94) were associated with considerable reductions in total mortality. The use of calcium channel blockers was not associated with a reduction in total mortality (RR 1.23; 95% CI 0.89-1.69). Separate analyses for nifedipine (RR 1.00; 95% CI 0.68-1.48), and diltiazem (RR 1.55; 95% CI 1.04-2.32) showed an increased risk of death associated with the latter. Using patients on beta-blockers only (RR 1.00) as a reference, the prescription of these calcium channel blockers was consistently associated with an increased total mortality (nifedipine, without beta-blockers RR 1.20; 95% CI 1.12-3.57, diltiazem, without beta-blockers RR 2.87; 95% CI 1.75-4.70). These results from an observational study demonstrate a benefit of thrombolysis, beta-adrenergic blockade and antiplatelet drug use on long-term survival in acute myocardial infarction patients. Calcium channel blocker use appears to be associated with an increased risk of death. These data support the need for controlled trials to address this issue specifically.

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