399 out of 474 inpatients with unstable angina were monitored for 48 h and 97 of these were found to be refractory to conventional antianginal treatments and entered a randomised double-blind study. With the initial protocol heparin infusion or bolus were compared with aspirin; with a modified protocol, heparin infusion, the best of these three treatments, was compared with alteplase. Patients were monitored for 3 days after starting treatment and then observed clinically for 4 more days. On the first days of treatment heparin infusion significantly decreased the frequency of angina (by 84-94%), episodes of silent ischaemia (by 71-77%), and the overall duration of ischaemia (by 81-86%). Heparin bolus and aspirin were not effective. Alteplase caused small (non-significant) reductions on the first day only. Only minor bleeding complications occurred.
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