Thrombolytic therapy or primary coronary angioplasty in acute myocardial infarction?

D. Pereg*, S. Behar, A. Battler, V. Boyko, S. Gottlieb, J. Leor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been continuous debate over the superiority of primary percutaneous, transluminal, coronary angioplasty (PTCA) over thrombolysis for acute myocardial infarction (AMI). It was questioned whether this advantage of primary PTCA reported in selected populations by experienced centers can be replicated in our clinical practice. We compared demographic and clinical variables, therapies and outcome in AMI treated with primary PTCA vs thrombolytic therapy. Clinical and demographic variables of 1,678 unselected AMI patients (admitted January/February and May/July 1996) were analyzed in 16 cardiac care units with on-site catheterization facilities and ability to perform PTCA. Of these 803 (48%) were treated by thrombolysis and 99 (6%) by primary PTCA. The prevalence of adverse prognostic variables, such as anterior wall MI, heart failure on admission or during hospital stay, pulmonary edema, and ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation, was higher in the PTCA group. The 7-day, 30-day and 1-year mortality rates were similar in the 2 groups: 4%, 7.2% and 12.8%, respectively, in the PTCA group and 5%, 7.2% and 11.1% in the thrombolysis group. There was a trend toward lower mortality in subgroups of high-risk patients: those with heart failure on admission (Killip class >1), the elderly (>65 years), and those with previous MI treated with PTCA. After adjusting for confounders, treatment with primary PTCA was not found to be associated with lower mortality. Only a small proportion of AMI patients in Israel were treated with primary PTCA in 1996. The frequency of adverse prognostic factors among them was higher but their short and long term outcomes were similar to those of high risk patients treated with thrombolysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)939-944+1006
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronary angioplasty
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Reperfusion
  • Thrombolytic therapy


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