Context Despite evidence from randomized trials that, compared with early thrombolysis,
primary percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) after acute
myocardial infarction (AMI) reduces mortality in middle-aged adults, whether
elderly patients with AMI are more likely to benefit from PTCA or early thrombolysis
is not known.
Objective To determine survival after primary PTCA vs thrombolysis in elderly
Design The Cooperative Cardiovascular Project, a retrospective cohort study
using data from medical charts and administrative files.
Setting Acute care hospitals in the United States.
Patients A total of 20,683 Medicare beneficiaries, who arrived within 12 hours
of the onset of symptoms, were admitted between January 1994 and February
1996 with a principal discharge diagnosis of AMI, and were eligible for reperfusion
Main Outcome Measures Thirty-day and 1-year survival.
Results A total of 80,356 eligible patients had an AMI at hospital arrival and
met the inclusion criteria, of whom 23.2% received thrombolysis and 2.5% underwent
primary PTCA within 6 hours of hospital arrival. Patients undergoing primary
PTCA had lower 30-day (8.7% vs 11.9%, P=.001) and
1-year mortality (14.4% vs 17.6%, P=.001). After
adjusting for baseline cardiac risk factors and admission and hospital characteristics,
primary PTCA was associated with improved 30-day (hazard ratio [HR] of death,
0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63-0.88) and 1-year (HR, 0.88; 95% CI,
0.73-0.94) survival. The benefits of primary coronary angioplasty persisted
when stratified by hospitals' AMI volume and the presence of on-site angiography.
In patients classified as ideal for reperfusion therapy, the mortality benefit
of primary PTCA was not significant at 1-year follow-up (HR, 0.92; 95% CI,
Conclusion In elderly patients who present with AMI, primary PTCA is associated
with modestly lower short- and long-term mortality rates. In the subgroup
of patients who were classified as ideal for reperfusion therapy, the observed
benefit of primary PTCA was no longer significant.