Desai, N. R., Peterson, E. D., Chen, A. Y., Wiviott, S. D., Sabatine, M. S., Alexander, K. P., Roe, M. T., Shah, B. R. Balancing the risk of mortality and major bleeding in the treatment of NSTEMI patients - A report from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry Am Heart J. 2013;166(6):1043-1049 e1.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to describe real-world patterns of care in NSTEMI patients across different risk profiles for bleeding and mortality.

BACKGROUND: The NCDR ACTION Registry-GWTG in-hospital mortality and major bleeding risk scores were developed to assess patient risk and optimize treatment decisions. However, little is known about the alignment of contemporary clinical management patterns with these risk estimates.

METHODS: We studied 61,366 NSTEMI patients in the NCDR ACTION-Registry-GWTG from January 2007 to March 2009, stratifying them into four groups based on estimated risk of mortality and major bleeding.

RESULTS: There were 24,709 (40.3%) patients in each of the concordant risk groups (low:low; high:high) and 5974 (9.7%) in each of the discordant risk groups (low:high; high:low). Subjects at high estimated risk for both mortality and major bleeding were least likely to receive guideline-based adjunctive pharmacotherapy or to undergo angiography within 48 hours but most likely to receive an excess dose of an antithrombotic agent. Patients at low estimated risk for mortality and bleeding received the most intensive adjunctive therapy and were most likely to undergo invasive angiography.

CONCLUSION: There are significant differences in contemporary patterns of care across varying risk profiles of mortality and major bleeding. Despite practice patterns which seem to emphasize avoiding harm with reduced use of antithrombotic therapy, patients at high risk for major bleeding continue to receive excess doses of antithrombotic therapy. Additional performance improvement efforts are needed to optimize outcomes in NSTEMI patients with high risk for both bleeding and mortality.