To examine the outcome of patients with persistent coronary artery occlusion despite treatment with intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA), the clinical course of 96 patients with persistent occlusion after 90 min of therapy was evaluated. All patients underwent cardiac catheterization 90 min after initiation of intravenous t-PA. Immediate coronary angioplasty (PTCA) was attempted when the infarct-related artery failed to reperfuse unless the vessel was technically unsuitable or the infarct was though to be small. No baseline differences could be found between these 96 patients and 288 patients who achieved perfusion with the same protocol. Although patients with and without successful perfusion after t-PA had similar clinical courses before cardiac catheterization, those without perfusion had more complications (ventricular fibrillation, severe bradycardia, hypotension) during catheterization. PTCA achieved reperfusion with less than 50% residual stenosis in 73% of the 86 patients in whom it was attempted, while 16% were left with a high-grade (>50%) residual stenosis and PTCA failed in 11%. Mortality was highest in the nine patients with complete PTCA failure (44%), compared with a 6% mortality in the 63 patients with an insignificant residual stenosis after PTCA and a 14% mortality in the 14 patients with reperfusion, but a greater than 50% residual stenosis after PTCA. In 10 patients with small infarcts (six), unsuitable anatomy (two),l or 'spontaneous' drug induced (but later) opening before contemplated PTCA (two), PTCA was not attempted and no mortality occurred. The in-hospital reocclusion rate after successful PTCA was 29%, despite the use of heparin and antiplatelet agents. No significant improvement in regional or global left ventricular function occurred, even in patients with successful PTCA and persistent vessel patency during the hospitalization. Only one patient died after hospital discharge in the first 6 months of follow-up. These results suggest that although angioplasty can achieve vessel patency in most patients in whom t-PA therapy fails, the reocclusion rate is high and recovery of left ventricular function is minimal. New methods should be sought to attain infarct-artery reperfusion and sustain patency in this high-risk group.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)