Acute Consequences of Ischemic Myocardial Damage

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SummaryThe current revolution in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction by means of thrombolytic therapy has as its underlying strategy three aims: early restoration of the blood flow in order to salvage jeopardized but still viable tissues; limitation of acute consequences of ischemic heart disease, such as infarct size, ventricular fibrillation, and pericardial effusion; and preservation, as far as possible, of ventricular function. It is also hoped that these three achievements will result in reduced short- as well as long-term mortality rates. The techniques employed in this overall strategy are still under investigation, and several leading pharmacological compounds vie for supremacy: streptokinase (SK) and its anisoylated form (APSAC), recombinant technique tissue type plasminogen activator (rt-PA), and urokinase (UK) with or without prourokinase (PUK). Other pharmacological agents, such as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, β-blockers, Ca2+ antagonists, and O2 radical scavengers, might find here their “finest hour” yet. In addition, the underlying anatomy may require early or, where needed, delayed PTCA, backed up by coronary artery bypass grafting. Thus, the tactics of the intervention may vary from case to case and indeed from center to center depending on experience and facilities, but the strategic conclusion is clearly the same: early reperfusion is a must if one wishes to save ischemic but still viable tissue.

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