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Effects of thrombolytic therapy in acute inferior myocardial infarction with or without right ventricular involvement. HIT-4 Trial Group. Hirudin for Improvement of Thrombolysis.

OBJECTIVES: This study assessed the prognostic impact of right ventricular involvement (RVI) in streptokinase-treated patients with inferior acute myocardial infarction (AMI) stratified for small or large AMI.

BACKGROUND: Only scant data exist from small studies about the impact of reperfusion therapy on survival in patients with RVI during inferior AMI.

METHODS: Right ventricular involvement was assessed by ST-segment elevation > or =0.1 mV in lead V4R and infarct size by the extent of ST-segment deviation on the baseline electrocardiogram: small AMI=sum ST-segment elevation < or =0.8 mV and no precordial ST-segment depression (small ST); large AMI=presence of precordial ST-segment depression or sum ST-segment elevation >0.8 mV (large ST) in 522 inferior AMI patients of the Hirudin for Improvement of Thrombolysis (HIT-4) Trial. In 187 patients, 90-min coronary angiography was performed.

RESULTS: Right ventricular involvement was present in 169 patients (32%). Higher 30-day cardiac mortality rates with RVI (5.9% vs. 2.5%) were related to larger infarct size rather than to RVI. For large ST, a proximal right coronary artery lesion was observed in 52% with and in 23% without RVI. Patency rates at 90 min were similar (54% vs. 52%). In the 28% of patients who had small ST, cardiac mortality was less than 1% irrespective of the presence of RVI. Coronary artery lesions were mostly located distally. Patency rates were 27% with and 80% without RVI.

CONCLUSIONS: ST-segment elevation of > or =0.1 mV in V4R in inferior AMI patients is associated with larger infarct size and higher 30-day mortality rates. Right ventricular involvement is not an independent predictor of survival. In patients with small ST, cardiac mortality is low, even if ST V4R is > or =0.1 mV.

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