Aims To determine the safety and efficacy of a pharmaco-invasive reperfusion strategy utilizing half-dose fibrinolysis combined with transfer for immediate percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients presenting to remote rural hospitals. Primary PCI is preferred for STEMI if performed in a timely manner. However, <20 of STEMI patients transferred for PCI in the USA have door-to-balloon times <2 h. Methods and results Prospective data from the Level 1 MI programme were analysed. All STEMI patients presenting to the Minneapolis Heart Institute or 31 referral hospitals received aspirin, clopidogrel, and unfractionated heparin (UFH) at the presenting hospital and those presenting to hospitals <60 miles away also received half-dose fibrinolytic with transfer for immediate PCI. From April 2003 through December 2009, we enrolled 2634 consecutive STEMI patients in the Level 1 MI database including 660 transferred from remote hospitals utilizing pharmaco-invasive therapy and 600 patients who presented directly to the PCI centre. There were no significant differences in 30-day mortality (5.5 vs. 5.6; P = 0.94), stroke (1.1 vs. 1.3; P = 0.66) or major bleeding (1.5 vs. 1.8; P = 0.65), or re-infarction/ischaemia (1.2 vs. 2.5; P = 0.088) in patients receiving a pharmaco-invasive strategy compared with patients presenting directly to the PCI centre, despite a significantly longer door-to-balloon time. Conclusion Within a regional STEMI system of care, half-dose fibrinolysis combined with immediate transfer for PCI may be a safe and effective option for STEMI patients with expected delays due to long-distance transfer.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. There were no relationships with industry.