Archive for the ‘Primary PCI’ Category

Last week  there was a heated debate in our CCU regarding thrombolysis for  a patient with severe rest angina  and ST elevation in AVR  and ST depression in V2-V5  as it implies  Left main disease  Few argued left main disease is an exception where one can thrombolyse even with unstable angina !

One of my fellows argued ACC guidelines vouched for lysis in UA involving left main .( I do not agree )

A logical attempt to differentiate Left main NSTEMI//UA and STEMI

(In the strict sense Left main NSTEMI is misnomer as AVR shows ST elevation  isn’t ? )

left main disease

Final message

Such  patients with suspected LMD   are to be rushed to cath lab .  . . agreed . If it is not feasible , manage it as high risk unstable angina and do not thrombolyse .Let it be left main disease . Indications for lysis are clear. ST  elevation in AVR alone can not be taken as an Indication for lysis.For thromolysis to be effective there should be high thrombus burden with total occlusion . ST elevation in single lead (AVR ) is not a good  marker for left-main thrombus !

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Primary PCI is presumed to be the ultimate  , undisputed reperfusion  strategy  in STEMI .  Still , time and again one study or  other strips down  this   “Numero Uno”  status of pPCI  .  If it is really supreme ,  such awkward  situation shouldn’t arise  too often . More importantly , the  major reason for  dubious real world record of  pPCI  goes beyond  the time and logistic factors (which is considered the only issue  for pPCI by most interventionist ! ) There is something more to it that is invisible ! (Is it the no reflow ?)

The nearly flawless study from Belgium ( STREAM Just released in ACC 2013/Sanfransisco ) , pre-hopsital or early fibrinolysis has proven to be superior in the prevention major end points at 30 days .

  1. Death
  2. Re-infarction
  3. CHF


The major surprise was pre-hospital  fibrinolysis  showed less  incidence of cardiogenic shock . ( pPCI

group had more of this ( 4.4 VS 5.9 %  in STREAM )

Now . . .  shall I make a provocative statement ?

while pPCI may be treatment of choice for cardiogenic shock . . . but it may  also confer a risk of cardiogenic shock in otherwise low risk MI !

Caution  and  conclusion

STREAM population applies strictly to 1 to 3 hour time window . It does not apply to either before or after that ! Simply put,we do not have  guts to compare fibrinolysis and pPCI  in patients who arrive  within one hour into a facility where 24 hour cath lab facility is available .  We call it unethical to do a study like that !  I personally feel it is really unethical  if we do not do a study in this time frame . The reasoning is  simple and very personal .In a  large  Government  hospital   where  we do not have primary PCI program  our net mortality for STEMI never exceeded 7-8 %  over a period of 10 years  , Which  is almost at par with global data on pPCI. (Our door to needle time is an unbelivebale  8-12 minutes ! that  too only streptokinase !)

Adding Further controversy

pPCI  is indeed a superior reperfusion strategy . No one can dispute that .But its superiority  is not  realised  in  every patient  who gets it.  The benefits are accrued if and only if it is  used most judiciously . In Low risk , small regional  , branch vessel STEMI ,  pPCI has never been  shown superior . It is well recognised ,  upto 15 % of STEMI is likely to spontaneously abort or experience very good spontaneous recannalisation . By rushing these  patients very early into cath lab pPCI   meddles with the natural anti fibrinolytic mechanisms . It is this population who  invite all the procedural hazards. .

Is this the reason STREAM had  more  cardiogenic shocks in pPCI limb ?

I think STREAM has  strengthened the case in favor of fibrinolysis in this  ever ending debate .

I would  seriously believe  pPCI is hanging it’s superiority over fibrinolysis with a wafer thin mortality advantage . pPCI may  not be recommended in a routine fashion to all STEMI  population even if they arrive within 6 hours and able to perform the plasty fast .  Science is   . . .  after all . . .  continuing  confrontations with our  assumptions !

Counter point

STREAM is not an exclusive study comparing fibrinolysis and PCI . It is a  study comparing   Pharmaco Invasive approach vs  pure invasive approach . 80 %  of patients in the  fibrinolytic limb ultimately received PCI and  stenting . It simply doesnot make sense to conclude fibrinolysis is superior to PCI . Most of the beneficial  effects on 30 day outcome may reflect the timely PCI  in the lytic group.


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