Combination therapy does not appear to benefit cardiac patients before heart catheter procedure

Patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI - heart attack) who are referred for percutaneous coronary intervention (such as angioplasty and stent placement in the coronary artery) do not have a reduction in the amount of damaged heart tissue when administered two drugs compared with a single drug to restore blood flow, according to a study in the February 25 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

According to background information in the article, "In hospitals with catheterization facilities, primary percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) are better then thrombolysis (drug therapy used to dissolve blood clots) in patients with ST-segment elevation acute MI. Specifically designed randomized trials have also shown that patients with acute MI presenting at hospitals without catheterization facilities benefit more from PCI performed after transfer to centers with catheterization laboratories than from on-site thombolysis."

Adnan Kastrati, M.D., from Deutsches Hezzentrum, Technische Universitat, Munich, Germany, and colleagues from the Bavarian Reperfusion Alternatives Evaluation (BRAVE) Study Investigators, assessed whether early administration of the combination of the drugs reteplase plus abciximab produces better reduction of infarct size compared with abciximab alone in patients with acute MI referred for PCI. The study, conducted from May 3, 2001 through June 2, 2003, included 253 patients who were admitted to 13 community hospitals without catheterization facilities (n=186) and to 5 hospitals with catheterization facilities (n=67), within 12 hours of symptoms of an acute MI. Patients randomly received either the combination of reteplase and abciximab (n=125) or abciximab (n=128) alone. All patients were then transferred for PCI. Infarct size was later determined by imaging from a single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).

"The final infarct size of the left ventricle, the primary en

Contact: Adnan Kastrati, M.D.
JAMA and Archives Journals

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