What is the role of invasive interventions in the treatment of acute coronary syndrome (ACS)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020
  • Author: David L Coven, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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An early invasive strategy (ie, diagnostic angiography with intent to perform revascularization) is indicated in unstable angina/NSTEMI patients who have refractory angina or hemodynamic or electrical instability without serious comorbidities or contraindications to such procedures. [32] An early invasive strategy is also indicated in initially stabilized unstable angina/NSTEMI patients who do not have serious comorbidities or contraindications to such procedures and who have an elevated risk for clinical events.

In NSTEMI ACS, early revascularization reduces myocardial infarction and death rates compared with a more selective strategy, particularly in high-risk patients. Use of Gp IIb/IIIa blockers followed by early invasive catheterization is the most logical approach. An early invasive strategy should be considered in patients with large myocardial infarction, hypotension, shock, RV infarction, and refractory chest pain.

In the Invasive Versus Conservative Treatment in Unstable Coronary Syndromes (ICTUS) trial, an early invasive strategy had no apparent long-term benefit in reducing death or myocardial infarction. After stratification for risk, analysis of 5-year clinical outcomes in patients presenting with non-ST-segment elevation ACS and elevated troponin T (TnT) level showed that cumulative myocardial infarction or death rates were 22.3% in the early invasive group versus 18.1% in the selective invasive group. No difference was observed in mortality or myocardial infarction. [101]

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