One year survival and event-free survival rates were analyzed in 342 patients with acute myocardial infarction who were consecutively enrolled in a treatment protocol of early intravenous thrombolytic therapy followed by emergency coronary angioplasty. Ninety-four percent of the patients achieved successful reperfusion, including 4% with failed angioplasty whose perfusion was maintained by means of a reperfusion catheter before emergency bypass surgery. The procedural mortality rate was 1.2% and the total in-hospital mortality rate was 11%. Ninety-two percent of surviving nonsurgical patients who underwent repeat cardiac catheterization were discharged from the hospital with an open infarct-related artery. The related cumulative 1 year survival rate for all patients managed with this treatment strategy was 87%, and the cardiac event-free survival rate was 84%. The 1 year survival for hospital survivors was 98% and the infarct-free survival rate was 94%. Multivariable analysis identified the following factors as independent predictors of subsequent cardiovascular death: cardiogenic shock, greater age, lower ejection fraction, female gender and a closed infarct-related vessel on the initial coronary angiogram. Among patients with cardiogenic shock, despite a 42% in-hospital mortality rate, only 4% died during the first year after hospital discharge. Similarly, the in-hospital and 1 year postdischarge mortality rates were 19 and 4%, respectively, for patients with an initial ejection fraction <40, and 25 and 3%, respectively, for patients > 65 years. An aggressive treatment strategy including early thrombolytic therapy, emergency cardiac catheterization, coronary angioplasty and, when necessary, bypass surgery resulted in a high rate of infarct vessel patency. Long-term mortality and reinfarction rates after hospital discharge were low, even for patients in high risk subgroups.
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