Author + information
- Received August 19, 1993
- Revision received February 15, 1994
- Accepted February 25, 1994
- Published online July 1, 1994.
- Diana Holdright, MRCPd,∗,
- Deven Patel, MRCPd,
- David Cunningham, PhDd,
- Roderic Thomas, FRCPa,
- William Hubbard, MRCPa,
- Gordon Hendry, MRCPb,
- George Sutton, FRCP, FACCc and
- Kim Fox, FRCPd
- ↵∗Address for correspondence: Dr. Diana R. Holdright, London Chest Hospital, Bonner Road, London E2 9JX, United Kingdom.
Objectives. This study compared the effects of heparin and aspirin versus aspirin alone on transient myocardial ischemia and in-hospital prognosis in patients with unstable angina.
Background. Transient myocardial ischemia occurring in patients with unstable angina is associated with an adverse prognosis. Heparin and aspirin are two drugs used frequently in the treatment of this condition, but the effect of combination therapy versus aspirin alone on transient myocardial ischemia is unknown.
Methods. Two hundred eighty-five consecutive patients with unstable angina were randomized to receive either intravenous heparin plus oral aspirin (150 mg once daily) (Group H + A) or aspirin alone (Group A). Patients also received a beta-adrenergic blocking agent, diltiazem and intravenous nitrates. ST segment monitoring was performed for the 1st 48 h of treatment. Patients were followed up for the duration of their in-hospital stay.
Results. One hundred fifty-four patients (30 women, mean [±SEM] age 58.3 ± 0.8 years) received heparin and aspirin (Group H + A), and 131 patients (26 women, mean age 60.6 ± 0.8 years) received aspirin only (Group A). ST segment monitoring (11,622 h) yielded 244 episodes of transient myocardial ischemia of a total duration of 7,819 min. There were no significant differences between the two treatment arms in the number of patients with transient myocardial ischemia (27 [18%] in Group H + A vs. 31 [24%] in Group A), number of episodes (96 in Group H + A vs. 148 in Group A) or total duration of transient myocardial ischemia (2,911 min in Group H + A vs. 4,908 min in Group A). The incidence of in-hospital myocardial infarction or death was significantly higher in patients with transient myocardial ischemia (53% vs. 22%, p < 0.0001). Five of the six deaths occurred in patients with transient myocardial ischemia. Event-free survival from myocardial infarction or death was similar in both treatment groups. Preadmission therapy with aspirin was associated with a lower in-hospital infarction rate (19% vs. 34%, p = 0.01).
Conclusions. The presence of transient myocardial ischemia in patients with unstable angina is associated with a significantly higher incidence of myocardial infarction or death in hospital. Combined therapy with heparin and aspirin compared with aspirin alone makes no difference in the development of these events, nor does it reduce the development of transient myocardial ischemia.
- Received August 19, 1993.
- Revision received February 15, 1994.
- Accepted February 25, 1994.