Reducing mortality in myocardial infarction

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7496.856 (Published 14 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:856
  1. Jonathan N Townend, consultant cardiologist (John.Townend@uhb.nhs.uk),
  2. Sagar N Doshi, consultant cardiologist
  1. Department of Cardiology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TH

    Treatment in specialised angioplasty centres should follow rapid prehospital thrombolysis

    Restoring blood flow promptly in an occluded coronary artery by either thrombolysis or angioplasty reduces mortality in myocardial infarction with ST elevation. With both treatments, the faster reperfusion is achieved, the greater the reduction in mortality.1 2 The relative merits of thrombolysis in hospital and angioplasty have recently been debated in this journal,3 4 but in most developed countries the debate is largely over. Meta-analysis of trials comparing the two treatments showed a reduction in reinfarction and stroke and a small reduction in mortality in favour of angioplasty. 5 Guidelines from the European Society of Cardiology now state that primary angioplasty is the preferred therapeutic option when it can be performed “within 90 minutes after the first medical contact.”6

    In the United Kingdom no special funding exists for primary angioplasty: thrombolysis in hospital remains the standard treatment. Things may be about to change, however. The Department of Health has earmarked £1m ($1.89m;€1.46m) “to pilot the possibility …

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