EVALUATION STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Drip and ship: a new strategy for the treatment of acute coronary syndromes.

Glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa inhibitors block the final common pathway of platelet aggregation by preventing fibrinogen from binding to the GP IIb/IIIa platelet receptor. In patients with unstable angina (UA) or a non-Q wave myocardial infarction (NQWMI), including those with UA refractory to medical therapy, these agents decrease the risk of death, myocardial infarction (MI), and recurrent ischemia. Most patients with acute coronary syndromes are managed in hospitals without on-site angioplasty capabilities and often require transfer for an interventional procedure. We propose that GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors can be safely initiated at the referring hospital. We studied 20 patients with UA/NQWMI in whom therapy with a GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor, in addition to standard medical therapy, was initiated prior to transfer for an urgent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) ("drip and ship"). The primary end point was a composite of death, MI, and recurrent ischemia at 30 days. Twelve patients were treated with abciximab, 5 patients were treated with tirofiban, and 3 patients initially treated with tirofiban were converted to abciximab. Procedural success occurred in 33 out of 36 (92%) lesions and 18 out of 20 (90%) patients. At 30 days, 4 out of 20 (20%) patients had recurrent ischemia. The PTCA sites were widely patent in the 3 patients who underwent repeat angiography. The fourth patient had an unsuccessful PCI and was referred for coronary artery bypass surgery. There were no MIs or deaths. Patients who require transfer for an urgent PCI can be managed safely and efficaciously by initiating a GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor, in addition to standard medical therapy, prior to transfer.

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