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Can J Cardiol. 2009 Nov;25(11):e370-6.

Temporal trends in the use of invasive cardiac procedures for non-ST segment elevation acute coronary syndromes according to initial risk stratification.

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Donnelly Heart Centre, Division of Cardiology, St Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, USA.



Current guidelines support an early invasive strategy in the management of high-risk non-ST elevation acute coronary syndromes (NSTE-ACS). Although studies in the 1990s suggested that highrisk patients received less aggressive treatment, there are limited data on the contemporary management patterns of NSTE-ACS in Canada.


To examine the in-hospital use of coronary angiography and revascularization in relation to risk among less selected patients with NSTE-ACS.


Data from the prospective, multicentre Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events (main GRACE and expanded GRACE2) were used. Between June 1999 and September 2007, 7131 patients from across Canada with a final diagnosis of NSTE-ACS were included the study. The study population was stratified into low-, intermediate- and high-risk groups, based on their calculated GRACE risk score (a validated predictor of in-hospital mortality) and according to time of enrollment.


While rates of in-hospital death and reinfarction were significantly (P<0.001) greater in higher-risk patients, the in-hospital use of cardiac catheterization in low- (64.7%), intermediate- (60.3%) and highrisk (42.3%) patients showed an inverse relationship (P<0.001). This trend persisted despite the increase in the overall rates of cardiac catheterization over time (47.9% in 1999 to 2003 versus 51.6% in 2004 to 2005 versus 63.8% in 2006 to 2007; P<0.001). After adjusting for confounders, intermediate-risk (adjusted OR 0.80 [95% CI 0.70 to 0.92], P=0.002) and high-risk (adjusted OR 0.38 [95% CI 0.29 to 0.48], P<0.001) patients remained less likely to undergo in-hospital cardiac catheterization.


Despite the temporal increase in the use of invasive cardiac procedures, they remain paradoxically targeted toward low-risk patients with NSTE-ACS in contemporary practice. This treatment-risk paradox needs to be further addressed to maximize the benefits of invasive therapies in Canada.

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