Ventricular Arrhythmias in Trials of Thrombolytic Therapy for Acute Myocardial Infarction A Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

Background

Although thrombolytic therapy reduces long-term mortality in acute myocardial infarction, many clinicians remain concerned about an increased risk of ventricular arrhythmias associated with the use of these agents.

Methods and Results

To determine whether thrombolytic therapy increases the risk of ventricular tachyarrhythmias and whether an increase in arrhythmias could be responsible for the increased mortality seen in the first 24 hours after lytic therapy, we performed a meta-analysis of 15 randomized trials of thrombolysis in acute myocardial infarction in which the odds of developing in-hospital ventricular fibrillation (VF) and ventricular tachycardia (VT) in patients receiving thrombolysis was compared with that of patients receiving placebo. For trials that reported the incidence ofVF during the first 6 hours after thrombolysis, the summary odds ratio for developing VF in the thrombolytic group was 0.98 (95% confidence interval [CI1, 0.6 to 1.6; P=.94). For trials that reported the incidence ofVF during the first hospital day, the summary odds ratio for developing VF was 1.00 (95% CI, 0.85 to 1.2; P=.95). The summary odds ratio for the development ofVF at any time during hospitalization in the thrombolytic group was 0.83 (95% CI, 0.76 to 0.90; P<.0001). In trials that reported the incidence of VT any time during hospitalization, the summary odds ratio for the development ofVT in the thromboytic group was 1.34 (95% CI, 1.15 to 1.55; P<.0001).

Methods and Results

Conclsions. The likelihood of developing VF in the early hours after thrombolysis for acute myocardial infarction is similar in patients receiving thrombolytics or placebo. However, throughout the hospital course, the risk ofVF is greater in patients receiving placebo, whereas the risk ofVT is higher in patients receiving thrombolysis.

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