Trends in use of coronary angiography in subacute phase of myocardial infarction.
BACKGROUND Most patients do not undergo acute reperfusion after myocardial infarction, and which of these patients should undergo coronary angiography is still debated.
METHODS AND RESULTS We analyzed the 1-year clinical outcomes and rates of coronary angiography performed as late as 60 days after myocardial infarction in 3,804 patients admitted between 1979 and 1988 and followed in six different centers. Patients less than 75 years old were classified into low-, medium-, and high-risk groups using a multivariate analysis of historical and clinical variables gathered during the first 8 hospital days. Patients who underwent early reperfusion (17%, all after 1984) were analyzed separately. To analyze time trends, patients were compared before and after mid-1984. Mortalities from day 9 through 1 year were similar for the two time periods in the low- (3.3% versus 2.5%) and medium-risk (7.4% versus 5.6%) groups, but mortality was lower for the high-risk group after 1984 (31.6% versus 20.0%). The proportion of patients undergoing coronary angiography increased dramatically in each group after 1984 (low risk, 18% versus 48%; medium risk, 23% versus 49%; high risk, 10% versus 32%, before and after 1984, respectively). Furthermore, a large percentage of patients (more than 40%) in the low-risk group did not have at least one of the indications for coronary angiography recently recommended by a joint task force. Among patients undergoing coronary angiography, the proportion of patients with three-vessel coronary artery disease decreased after 1984, whereas the proportion undergoing mechanical revascularization in the year after infarction increased in all risk groups.
CONCLUSIONS Despite the recent development of noninvasive techniques with high sensitivity for detecting high-risk patients after myocardial infarction, coronary angiography is being performed increasingly in all patients, including those determined to be at low risk for complications based on clinical data. The economic consequences of such a trend could be considerable, and its impact requires careful analysis.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association