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Bleeding Complications After Contemporary Pharmacoinvasive Therapy for ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction


Background: Pharmacoinvasive therapy for the treatment of ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is a strategy that combines early restoration of coronary flow via pharmacologically induced thrombolysis with subsequent, prompt percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Prior studies suggesting a heightened bleeding risk of PCI performed early after fibrinolysis predated contemporary pharmacoinvasive practice including use of femoral closure devices (CD), fibrin specific thrombolytics, lower doses of heparin and stents.

Methods: Consecutive patients were included in this retrospective registry study if they underwent emergent PCI for ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) followed by immediate use of a groin closure device. Between Oct 1, 2002 and Jan 1, 2003, 27 patients were treated with immediate use of CD after post-thrombolytic PCI, performed within 12 hours of thrombolysis (pharmacoinvasive group). 58 patients were treated with immediate use of CD after primary PCI for STEMI. The two groups were compared with respect to the incidence of successful groin closure, bleeding complications, and clinical outcomes. Bleeding events were categorized according to the TIMI criteria. All baseline clinical and treatment variables were compared between the two groups to determine and the association of these variables (including use of thromblytic therapy) with TIMI major and TIMI minor bleeding was determined.

Results: Pharmacoinvasive recanalization with PCI occurred 348 ± 183 minutes after initiation of fibrinolytic therapy. Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors were used less frequently in the patients treated with a thrombolytic agent (59% vs. 90%, p < 0.01). Successful immediate hemostasis was obtained with CD in greater than 85% of patients in both groups (89% for pharmacoinvasive group vs. 86% for primary PCI group, p = 0.89). No patient required vascular surgical intervention. TIMI major bleeding and transfusion requirements were less than 5% in both groups. Antecedent thrombolytic therapy was not a predictor of bleeding complications after PCI.

Conclusions: Use of CD as part of a contemporary pharmacoinvasive strategy is associated with a low rate of major bleeding complications.

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Correspondence to Harold L. Dauerman MD.

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Gutierrez, M.J., Aggarwal, A., Gilbert, K. et al. Bleeding Complications After Contemporary Pharmacoinvasive Therapy for ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction. J Thromb Thrombolysis 18, 187–192 (2004).

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Key Words

  • thrombolysis
  • acute myocardial infarction
  • percutaneous coronary intervention
  • pharmacoinvasive therapy