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An early invasive strategy versus ischemia-guided management after fibrinolytic therapy for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: a meta-analysis of contemporary randomized controlled trials


Background — Although the use of an early invasive strategy among patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMI) who are treated initially with fibrinolytic therapy is common, the safety and efficacy of this approach remains uncertain. We performed a meta-analysis to best estimate the benefits and harms of an early invasive strategy in STEMI patients treated initially with full-dose intravenous fibrinolytic therapy, as compared to a traditional strategy of ischemia-guided management.

Methods — We included contemporary randomized controlled trials, defined a priori as those with >50% stent use during percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Outcomes extracted from the published results of eligible trials included all-cause mortality, reinfarction, stroke, and in-hospital major bleeding.

Results — We identified 5 contemporary trials enrolling 1,235 patients who met our inclusion criteria. Of the patients randomized to an early invasive strategy, 86% underwent PCI with 87% receiving stents. Follow-up duration ranged from 30 days to 1 year. An early invasive strategy was associated with significant reductions in mortality (odds ratio [OR] 0.55, 95% CI 0.34-0.90) and reinfarction (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.33-0.86) compared with ischemia-guided management. There were no significant differences in the risk of stroke (OR 1.31, 95% CI 0.42-4.10) or major bleeding (OR 1.41, 95% CI 0.74-2.69).

Conclusions — An early invasive strategy after fibrinolytic therapy is associated with significant reductions in mortality and reinfarction. Our results suggest a potentially important role for this strategy in the management of STEMI patients but should be confirmed by large randomized trials.



Wijeysundera HC, You JJ, Nallamothu BK, Krumholz HM, Cantor WJ, Ko DT. Am Heart J. 2008; 156(3):564-72. Epub 2008 Jun 30.

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