A randomised trial of 367 patients with acute myocardial infarction was performed to determine whether an invasive strategy combining thrombolysis with recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (rTPA), heparin, and acetylsalicylic acid, and immediate percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) would be superior to a noninvasive strategy with the same medical treatment but without immediate angiography and PTCA. Intravenous infusion of 100 mg rTPA was started within 5 h after onset of symptoms (median 156 min). Angiography was performed 6-165 min later in 180 out of 183 patients allocated to the invasive strategy; 184 patients were allocated to the non-invasive strategy. Immediate PTCA reduced the percentage stenosis of the infarct-related segment, but this was offset by a high rate of transient (16%) and sustained (7%) reocclusion during the procedure and recurrent ischaemia during the first 24 h (17%). The clinical course was more favourable after non-invasive therapy, with a lower incidence of recurrent ischaemia within 24 h (3%), bleeding complications, hypotension, and ventricular fibrillation. Mortality at 14 days was lower in patients allocated to non-invasive treatment (3%) than in the group allocated to invasive treatment (7%). No difference between the treatment groups was observed in infarct size estimated from myocardial release of alpha-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase or in left ventricular ejection fraction after 10-22 days. Since immediate PTCA does not provide additional benefit there seems to be no need for immediate angiography and PTCA in patients with acute myocardial infarction treated with rTPA.

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The Lancet
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Simoons, M., Betriu, A., Col, J., von Essen, R., Lubsen, J., Michel, P. L., … van de Werf, F. (1988). Thrombolysis with tissue plasminogen activator in acute myocardial infarction: no additional benefit from immediate percutaneous coronary angioplasty. The Lancet, 331(8579), 197–203. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/4288