Acute myocardial infarction: Then and now

J. Simmons, H. J. Willens, K. M. Kessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Dramatic changes in the management of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) have occurred in the past decade. While previous management strategies were primarily supportive, current strategies focus on achieving and maintaining patency of the infarct-related artery restoring blood flow to jeopardized myocytes, preserving left ventricular function, and preventing recurrences and complications in addition to promoting healing. Restoration of blood flow can be achieved pharmacologically with thrombolytic agents or mechanically with percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). Early use of antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants helps maintain patency of the infarct- related arteries and prevents thromboembolic complications. Administration of beta-blockers and angiotensin enzyme inhibitors are more specific means of conserving myocardium and preserving ventricular function. Additionally, several strategies for preventing arrhythmias such as prophylactic lidocaine use and routine long-term suppression of premature ventricular contractions with antiarrhythmic drugs are no longer routinely advocated. Basically, in the era prior to the eighth decade of this century, the primary direction of the therapeutic strategy for AMI was to reduce the oxygen demands in the infarcted myocardium; whereas in the subsequent years, the emphasis shifts to improvement in oxygen delivery, via thrombolysis, PTCA, and coronary artery bypass graft surgery. These interventional changes, when added to greater sophistication in the use of drugs to reduce oxygen demands, resulted in significant lowering of myocardial mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1732-1743
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


  • acute myocardial infarction
  • angioplasty
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
  • aspirin
  • beta-adrenergic blockers
  • heparin
  • stress testing
  • thrombolytic agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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