American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 93–102 | Cite as

Interventional Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy

Current Issues
  • Abdallah G. Rebeiz
  • Joseph Adams
  • Robert A. Harrington
Current Opinion

Abstract

In the last decade, a variety of novel anticoagulant and antiplatelet agents that improve outcomes in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary revascularization have emerged. During the next decade, continued refinements in catheter-based device technology should lead to further increases in the number of interventional procedures. The use of optimal antithrombotic strategies is pivotal in reducing adverse events among patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Our purpose is to review the current evidence regarding the efficacy of available adjunctive anticoagulant and antiplatelet agents in treating patients undergoing percutaneous coronary revascularization.

It should be borne in mind that patients undergoing PCI in the midst of an acute coronary event require a different level of coagulation and platelet aggregation inhibition than low-risk patients undergoing elective PCI for stable angina pectoris. Similarly, generalizing antithrombotic regimen safety data to a wide spectrum of catheter-based therapeutic devices should be avoided. A level of anticoagulation that is safe and effective for angioplasty and stent placement may not be sufficient for devices with longer intracoronary dwell times such as brachytherapy catheters. In light of current evidence, activated clotting times should be targeted in the 200- to 250-second range during elective PCI and in the 250- to 300-second range when intervening on a higher-risk lesion, such as one with an angiographically visible thrombus or in patients presenting with an acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Low-dose enoxaparin sodium is an attractive antithrombin strategy in PCI because it is intrinsically adjusted for renal function, age, and concomitant glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa antagonist use. Other low-molecular weight heparins have also been studied as adjunctive anticoagulants during cardiac catheterization. For example, in pilot studies, dalteparin sodium was shown to have a good safety profile when used alone or in combination with abciximab during PCI.

A wealth of data supports the use of a GP IIb/IIIa antagonist in patients presenting with ACS, especially those with high-risk features such as elevated cardiac markers; the systematic use of GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors in this population is therefore encouraged. Overall, the use of GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors reduces the incidence of thrombotic complications following PCI, is associated with a mortality benefit, but has no impact on the risk of restenosis.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Dr Jennifer King of the Duke Clinical Research Institute for editorial assistance. No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdallah G. Rebeiz
    • 1
  • Joseph Adams
    • 1
  • Robert A. Harrington
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Cardiology and Duke Clinical Research InstituteDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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