Current perspectives on reperfusion therapy for acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: integrating pharmacologic and mechanical reperfusion strategies

Richard E Waters, Kenneth W Mahaffey, Christopher B Granger, Matthew T Roe
American Heart Journal 2003, 146 (6): 958-68
The therapeutic approach to patients with acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) has advanced rapidly over the past decade. Intravenous fibrinolytic therapy remains the most common form of reperfusion therapy worldwide, since fibrinolytics are associated with a dramatic reduction in mortality rates. However, primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is associated with improved outcomes and less bleeding complications compared with fibrinolytic therapy, but it is not widely available. Adjunctive therapies with intracoronary stents, glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa inhibitors, and more potent antithrombin agents have shown great promise for the initial treatment of STEMI and have stimulated further investigation of combined pharmacological/mechanical reperfusion strategies that may be synergistic. Although the optimal combination of fibrinolytics, antiplatelet agents, antithrombins, and mechanical reperfusion at hospitals with and without primary PCI facilities remains elusive, results from recent studies suggest that such a combined approach may facilitate transfer of patients with STEMI from a referral hospital to an invasive hospital for definitive primary PCI after administration of a potent pharmacologic regimen designed to enhance early infarct-related artery reperfusion. Thus, as the reperfusion era continues to evolve, the ideal treatment strategy for patients with STEMI is being redefined to integrate pharmacologic and mechanical approaches to reperfusion.

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