Posts Tagged ‘STREAM study’

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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