Patients with unstable angina, refractory to intensive medical therapy, are at high risk for developing thrombotic complications, such as recurrent ischemia, myocardial infarction and coronary occlusion during coronary angioplasty. As both platelet aggregation and/or thrombus formation play an important role in this ongoing ischemic process, a monoclonal platelet GPIIb/IIIa receptor antibody (c7E3) or thrombolytic therapy (alteplase) might be able to modify the clinical course and underlying coronary lesion morphology. To evaluate whether alteplase or c7E3 could influence the incidence of complications, we randomized 36 and 60 patients, respectively to alteplase or placebo, or c7E3 or placebo. All patients exhibited dynamic ECG changes and recurrent pain attacks, despite maximal tolerated medical therapy. Patients were randomized in both studies after initial angiography had demonstrated a culprit lesion amenable for angioplasty. After study drug infusion quantitative angiography was repeated and angioplasty performed. Recurrent ischemia during study drug infusion occured in 5, 6, 9 and 16 patients from the alteplase, placebo, c7E3 and placebo group, respectively. Major events defined as death, myocardial infarction or urgent intervention occurred in 7, 3, 1 and 7 patients, respectively. Two patients died: one in the alteplase group and one in the placebo group from the c7E3 study. The first patient due to retroperitoneal hemorrhage, the second as a result of recurrent infarction. Qualitative angiography showed resolution of clots in the c7E3 group only, while the same group of patients showed in 20% an improvement in TIMI flow grade, without deterioration in any patient from this group. Quantitative angiography showed a significant improvement in percentage diameter stenosis in the c7E3 group, which was not observed in all three other groups, although differences between groups were not significant. Alteplase infusion in patients with refractory unstable angina did not change the clinical course, nor the coronary morphology, c7E3 on the other hand, both improved the clinical course and the coronary lesion morphology and rheology in the same category of patients.

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International Journal of Cardiac Imaging
Department of Cardiology

van den Brand, M., van Miltenburg, A., de Boer, M. J., van der Wieken, R., de Feyter, P., & Simoons, M. (1994). Correlation between clinical course and quantitative analysis of the ischemia related artery in patients with unstable angina pectoris, refractory to medical treatment. International Journal of Cardiac Imaging, 10(3), 177–185. doi:10.1007/BF01137899