In patients with stable CAD, PCI can be considered a valuable initial mode of revascularization in all patients with objective large ischaemia in the presence of almost every lesion subset, with only one exception: chronic total occlusions that cannot be crossed. In early studies, there was a small survival advantage with CABG surgery compared with PCI without stenting. The addition of stents and newer adjunctive medications improved the outcome for PCI. The decision to recommend PCI or CABG surgery will be guided by technical improvements in cardiology or surgery, local expertise, and patients' preference. However, until proved otherwise, PCI should be used only with reservation in diabetics with multi-vessel disease and in patients with unprotected left main stenosis. The use of drug-eluting stents might change this situation. Patients presenting with NSTE-ACS (UA or NSTEMI) have to be stratified first for their risk of acute thrombotic complications. A clear benefit from early angiography (<48 h) and, when needed, PCI or CABG surgery has been reported only in the high-risk groups. Deferral of intervention does not improve outcome. Routine stenting is recommended on the basis of the predictability of the result and its immediate safety. In patients with STEMI, primary PCI should be the treatment of choice in patients presenting in a hospital with PCI facility and an experienced team. Patients with contra-indications to thrombolysis should be immediately transferred for primary PCI, because this might be their only chance for quickly opening the coronary artery. In cardiogenic shock, emergency PCI for complete revascularization may be life-saving and should be considered at an early stage. Compared with thrombolysis, randomized trials that transferred the patients for primary PCI to a 'heart attack centre' observed a better clinical outcome, despite transport times leading to a significantly longer delay between randomization and start of the treatment. The superiority of primary PCI over thrombolysis seems to be especially clinically relevant for the time interval between 3 and 12 h after onset of chest pain or other symptoms on the basis of its superior preservation of myocardium. Furthermore, with increasing time to presentation, major-adverse-cardiac-event rates increase after thrombolysis, but appear to remain relatively stable after primary PCI. Within the first 3 h after onset of chest pain or other symptoms, both reperfusion strategies seem equally effective in reducing infarct size and mortality. Therefore, thrombolysis is still a viable alternative to primary PCI, if it can be delivered within 3 h after onset of chest pain or other symptoms. Primary PCI compared with thrombolysis significantly reduced stroke. Overall, we prefer primary PCI over thrombolysis in the first 3 h of chest pain to prevent stroke, and in patients presenting 3-12 h after the onset of chest pain, to salvage myocardium and also to prevent stroke. At the moment, there is no evidence to recommend facilitated PCI. Rescue PCI is recommended, if thrombolysis failed within 45-60 min after starting the administration. After successful thrombolysis, the use of routine coronary angiography within 24 h and PCI, if applicable, is recommended even in asymptomatic patients without demonstrable ischaemia to improve patients' outcome. If a PCI centre is not available within 24 h, patients who have received successful thrombolysis with evidence of spontaneous or inducible ischaemia before discharge should be referred to coronary angiography and revascularized accordingly-independent of 'maximal' medical therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine