A randomized trial of late reperfusion therapy for acute myocardial infarction

Eric J. Topol, Robert M. Califf, Michel Vandormael, Cindy L. Grines, Barry S. George, Mark L. Sanz, Thomas Wall, Maryann O'Brien, Markus Schwaiger, Frank V. Aguirre, Sharon Young, Jeffrey J. Popma, Kristina N. Sigmon, Kerry L. Lee, Stephen G. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


Background. Experimental and observational clinical studies of acute coronary occlusion have suggested that late reperfusion prevents infarct expansion and facilitates myocardial healing. The purpose of this trial was to assess whether infarct vessel patency could be achieved in late-entry patients and what benefit, if any, can be demonstrated. Methods and Results. In a double-blind fashion, 197 patients with 6 to 24 hours of symptoms and ECG ST elevation were randomly assigned to tissue-type plasminogen activator (100 mg over 2 hours) or placebo. Coronary angiography within 24 hours was used to determine infarct vessel patency status. Patients with infarct-related occluded arteries were then eligible for a second randomization to either angioplasty (34 patients) or no angioplasty (37 patients). Ventricular function and cavity size were reassessed at 1 month by gated blood pool scintigraphy and at 6 months by repeat cardiac catheterization. The primary end point, infarct vessel patency, was 65% for plasminogen activator patients compared with 27% in the placebo group (p<0.0001). There were no differences between these groups in ejection fraction or infarct zone regional wall motion at 1 or 6 months. At 6 months, infarct vessel patency was 59% in both groups. In the placebo group, there was a significant increase in end-diastolic volume from acute phase of 127 ml to 159 ml at 6-month follow-up (p=0.006) but no increase in cavity size for the plasminogen activator group patients. Coronary angioplasty was associated with an initial 81% recanalization success and improved ventricular function at 1 month, but by late follow-up no advantage could be demonstrated for this procedure, and there was a 38% spontaneous recanalization rate in the patients assigned to no angioplasty. Conclusions. The study demonstrates that it is possible to achieve infarct vessel recanalization in the majority of late-entry patients with either thrombolytic therapy or angioplasty. Thrombolytic intervention had a favorable effect on prevention of cavity dilatation and left ventricular remodeling, but there are no late benefits on systolic function after thrombolysis or coronary angioplasty. The conclusions concerning overall potential benefit of applying late reperfusion therapy will require data from large-scale trials designed to assess mortality reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2090-2099
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1992


  • Angioplasty
  • Coronary artery thrombosis
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Myocardial reperfusion
  • Thrombolysis


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