Background: Despite successful restoration of epicardial vessel patency with primary percutaneous coronary intervention, coronary microvascular injury occurs in a large proportion of patients with ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction, adversely affecting clinical and functional outcome. Ticagrelor has been reported to increase plasma adenosine levels, which might have a protective effect on the microcirculation. We investigated whether ticagrelor maintenance therapy after revascularized ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction is associated with less coronary microvascular injury compared to prasugrel maintenance therapy.

Methods: A total of 110 patients with ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction received a loading dose of ticagrelor and were randomized to maintenance therapy of ticagrelor (n=56) or prasugrel (n=54) after primary percutaneous coronary intervention. The primary outcome was coronary microvascular injury at 1 month, as determined with the index of microcirculatory resistance in the infarct-related artery. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging was performed during the acute phase and at 1 month.

Results: The primary outcome of index of microcirculatory resistance was not superior in ticagrelor- or prasugrel-treated patients (ticagrelor, 21 [interquartile range, 15–39] U; prasugrel, 18 [interquartile range, 11–29] U; P=0.08). Recovery of microcirculatory resistance over time was not better in patients with ticagrelor versus prasugrel (ticagrelor, −13.9 U; prasugrel, −13.5 U; P=0.96). Intramyocardial hemorrhage was observed less frequently in patients receiving ticagrelor (23% versus 43%; P=0.04). At 1 month, no difference in infarct size was observed (ticagrelor, 7.6 [interquartile range, 3.7–14.4] g, prasugrel 9.9 [interquartile range, 5.7–16.6] g; P=0.17). The occurrence of microvascular obstruction was not different in patients on ticagrelor (28%) or prasugrel (41%; P=0.35). Plasma adenosine concentrations were not different during the index procedure and during maintenance therapy with ticagrelor or prasugrel.

Conclusions: In patients with ST-segment–elevation myocardial infarction, ticagrelor maintenance therapy was not superior to prasugrel in preventing coronary microvascular injury in the infarct-related territory as assessed by the index of microcirculatory resistance, and this resulted in a comparable infarct size at 1 month.

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Journal Circulation (Baltimore)
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van Leeuwen, M.A.H, van der Hoeven, NW, Janssens, GN, Everaars, H., Nap, A., Lemkes, J.S., … van Royen, N. (2019). Evaluation of Microvascular Injury in Revascularized Patients With ST-Segment-Elevation Myocardial Infarction Treated With Ticagrelor Versus Prasugrel: The REDUCE-MVI Trial. Circulation (Baltimore), 139(5), 636–646. doi:10.1161/circulationaha.118.035931