BACKGROUND: Although the stratification of patients with myocardial infarction into ECG subsets based on the presence or absence of new Q waves has important clinical and prognostic utility, systematic evaluation of the impact of thrombolytic therapy on the subsequent development and prognosis of non-Q-wave infarction has been limited to date. METHODS AND RESULTS: We examined 12-lead ECG, coronary anatomy, left ventricular function, and mortality among 2046 patients with ST-segment elevation infarction from the Global Utilization of Streptokinase and Tissue Plasminogen Activator for Occluded Coronary Arteries angiographic subset to gain further insight into the pathophysiology and prognosis of Q- versus non-Q-wave infarction in the thrombolytic era. Non-Q-wave infarction developed in 409 patients (20%) after thrombolytic therapy. Compared with Q-wave patients, non-Q-wave patients were more likely to present with lesser ST-segment elevation in a nonanterior location. The infarct-related artery in non-Q-wave patients was more likely to be nonanterior (67% versus 58%, P=.012) and distally located (33% versus 39%, P=.021). Early (90-minute, 77% versus 65%, P=.001) and complete (54% versus 44%, P<.001) infarct-related artery patency was greater among the non-Q-wave group. Non-Q-wave patients had better global (ejection fraction, 66% versus 57%; P<.0001) and regional left ventricular function (10 versus 24 abnormal chords, P=.0001). In-hospital, 30-day, 1-year, and 2-year (6.3% versus 10.1%, P=.02) mortality rates were lower among non-Q-wave patients. CONCLUSIONS: The excellent prognosis among the subgroup of patients who develop non-Q-wave infarction after thrombolysis is related to early, complete, and sustained infarct-related artery patency with resultant limitation of left ventricular infarction and dysfunction.

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Circulation (Baltimore)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Goodman, S. G., Topol, E., Armstrong, P., Simoons, M., Langer, A., Ross, A., … Califf, R. (1998). Non-Q-wave versus Q-wave myocardial infarction after thrombolytic therapy: angiographic and prognostic insights from the global utilization of streptokinase and tissue plasminogen activator for occluded coronary arteries-I angiographic substudy. GUSTO-I Angiographic Investigators. Circulation (Baltimore), 97(5), 444–450. Retrieved from