API expert consensus document on management of ischemic heart disease

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Journal of the Association of Physicians of India 2006, 54: 469-80
The incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) has dramatically increased in India during the recent years. There are two facets of CAD: stable CAD and unstable CAD which includes patients with acute coronary syndrome (unstable angina, non-ST elevation myocardial infarction, ST elevation myocardial infarction). The treatment of stable CAD (stable angina) includes anti-anginal medication, medication to modify atherosclerosis and aggressive treatment of causative risk factors. Those patients with stable CAD who have symptoms refractory to medical treatment usually require coronary angiography to be followed by either percutaneous or surgical revascularization. Percutaneous coronary revascularization using drug eluting stents has been a major revolution during the last five years for symptomatic relief of angina in symptomatic CAD and can be applied to large subsets of patients. Off-pump surgical revascularization using arterial grafts is a major advance and bypass surgery continues to remain treatment of choice in diabetics with multi-vessel CAD, left main CAD and in patients with multivessel disease and impaired ventricles. Acute coronary syndromes are usually caused by plaque rupture with resultant thrombus and present as unstable angina, non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) and ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). It is now increasingly realized that these patients (particularly the one with high risk) are best managed in advanced cardiac care centres with facilities for cardiac catheterization laboratory, percutaneous coronary interventions and coronary bypass surgery. In both, NSTEMI and STEMI aggressive medical management involving nitrates, ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, dual anti-platelet agents, heparin and statins are recommended. High risk patients with NSTE-ACS require use of glycoprotein IIa / IIIb inhibitors along with early invasive approach involving coronary angiography, angioplasty using drug eluting stent and in some patients bypass surgery. Early reperfusion is key to management of patients presenting with STEMI. If facilities are available, primary percutaneous coronary intervention (angioplasty with stenting) is treatment of choice for patients with STEMI. In our country, thrombolysis still remains the most frequently utilized reperfusion therapy and all efforts should be devoted to provide this therapy at the earliest. All high risk patients with STEMI (including cardiogenic shock) are best treated in higher centres and these patients should be promptly transported to such centres. Early coronary angiography is recommended for majority of patients following thrombolysis for risk stratification and further treatment. In acute coronary syndromes there is drift towards early invasive treatment and this is reflected in marked increase in cardiac care (catheterization laboratories and cardiac surgery centers) facilities throughout India. All patients with CAD require life-long supervised treatment which includes medication, control of risk factors and lifestyle modification. Avoidance of smoking, heart healthy diet, proper exercise, ideal weight management are important for all the patients. Statins, ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, antiplatelet agents have a great role to play in treatment and prevention and these drugs should be utilized under medical supervision. It is important that the medical profession play an important role in critically evaluating the use of diagnostic procedures and therapies as they are introduced and tested in the detection and management of cardiac disorders. The American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Heart Association (AHA), European Society of Cardiology (ESC), Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) and several other societies engage in production of guidelines in the area of cardiovascular diseases from time to time. These guidelines attempt to define practices that meet the needs of most patients in most circumstances. The aim of the guidelines is to improve the patient care. The ultimate judgement regarding the care of the particular patient is to be made by the clinician / healthcare provider keeping in mind all the circumstances. The incidence and prevalence of coronary artery disease (CAD) has increased tremendously in India during the last two decades and this change is largely attributable to lifestyle changes. There has also been a rapid progress in the treatment of CAD with proliferation of specialized cardiac care units, intensive care units, cardiac catheterization laboratories and facilities for bypass surgery. It is estimated that there are over 400 catheterization laboratories currently in India and nearly half of them are located in six major cities. The increase in disease and availability of facilities has resulted in a dramatic change and the focus is shifting from only medical treatment to invasive treatment. This document is an expert consensus document which has been prepared by going through the available guidelines and other relevant literature on the subject. The experts have performed a formal review of the literature and have weighed the strength of evidence for or against a particular therapy as it can be applied in Indian scenario. The consensus document deals with the management of ischemic heart disease (IHD) under following sections: 1) Stable Angina 2) Non ST Elevation Acute Coronary Syndrome (NSTE-ACS) 3) ST Elevation Acute Coronary Syndrome (STE-ACS) or Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI).

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