GISSI Update: Which patients with myocardial infarction should receive thrombolysis?

M. G. Franzosi, A. P. Maggioni, G. Tognoni

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Large-scale, randomized clinical trials have produced over the last few years a wide consensus about the role of thrombolysis in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). It has been estimated from the trials with broader inclusion criteria that about 40% of the patients admitted to coronary care units with AMI are eligible for fibrinolytic therapy and can benefit from it. On the other hand, drug utilization data suggest that only a fraction of eligible patients actually receive thrombolysis. A reason for this dissociation between knowledge and practice lies in the widespread assumption that thrombolysis is inefficacious in particular population subsets, as well as in the setting of a number of contraindications based on controversial evidence. Age per se does not represent a contraindication to thrombolysis, which could display a lifesaving potential two or three times that estimated for the general population of patients with AMI. Although it has been shown that the sooner thrombolytic treatment is provided after the onset of symptoms the more effective it is, the available evidence seems to indicate that the effect could well extend up to 12 h from the onset of symptoms. Patients with an inferior myocardial infarction should also receive thrombolytic treatment on the basis of the results of a meta-analysis carried out on 12,000 patients. Very misleading recommendations for practice can be produced by adjusting the main results so as to conveniently allow for subgroup findings, regardless of their degree of epidemiologic, biologic, and pathophysiologic consistency. For all categories of patients included in the population trials (with the exception of those with ST depression), thrombolysis should be considered a recommended treatment. From an epidemiologic perspective, the extension of the benefits of thrombolytic therapy to all AMI patients for whom the drug is not clearly contraindicated is a goal of primary importance.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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