Patients with a history of stroke presenting with acute myocardial infarction (MI) are often excluded from thrombolytic therapy owing to fear of intracranial hemorrhage. Few data, however, are available on the risks vs the benefits of thrombolysis in patients with an acute MI and a prior cerebrovascular event (PCE).Methods
Data were derived from 2 nationwide surveys of 2012 consecutive patients with acute MI admitted to all 25 coronary care units in Israel during 1992 and 1994. Thrombolytic therapy was given to patients with a PCE at the discretion of the treating physicians. Outcomes were compared between patients with an acute MI with and without a PCE and between patients with a PCE treated with or excluded from thrombolysis.Results
Patients with a PCE (n=115 ) were older, with higher rates of atherosclerotic risk factors and in-hospital complications than their counterparts without a prior event (n=1897). They were treated less often with thrombolysis or mechanical reperfusion. The 1-year mortality rates were higher among patients with a PCE (28% vs 19%, P<.01), but not after multivariate adjustments for clinical characteristics (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 0.75-1.55). Patients with an acute MI and a PCE who were treated with thrombolysis (n=29 ) were compared with 46 patients found ineligible for thrombolysis primarily because of their PCE. The timing of the PCE was comparable in both groups (one fifth in the preceding year), while prior transient ischemic attacks were more prevalent among patients who had undergone thrombolysis. The patients who were treated with thrombolysis (n=29) were older, had a higher rate of anterior infarction, and, while in the hospital, received aspirin, anticoagulants, and [small beta]-blockers more often than their counterparts (n=46). In-hospital intracranial hemorrhage did not occur in either group. The 1-year mortality rates were 2-fold higher among patients who had not undergone thrombolysis compared with those who had (33% vs 18%; adjusted hazard ratio, 2.44; 95% confidence interval, 0.78-7.64).Conclusions
These findings, derived from 2 nationwide surveys of consecutive patients with acute MI, suggest that patients with PCEs have an adverse outcome attributed to their older age and less favorable risk profile. Thrombolytic therapy, however, based on our preliminary data, may be beneficial in selected patients with an acute MI with a nonrecent PCE.