Cannon, C. P., McCabe, C. H., Diver, D. J., Herson, S., Greene, R. M., Shah, P. K., Sequeira, R. F., Leya, F., Kirshenbaum, J. M., Magorien, R. D., et al., Comparison of front-loaded recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator, anistreplase and combination thrombolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction: results of the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) 4 trial J Am Coll Cardiol. 1994;24:1602-10.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of our study was to determine a superior thrombolytic regimen from three: anistreplase (APSAC), front-loaded recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (rt-PA) or combination thrombolytic therapy.

BACKGROUND: Although thrombolytic therapy has been shown to reduce mortality and morbidity after acute myocardial infarction, it has not been clear whether more aggressive thrombolytic-antithrombotic regimens could improve the outcome achieved with standard regimens.

METHODS: To address this issue, 382 patients with acute myocardial infarction were randomized to receive in a double-blind fashion (along with intravenous heparin and aspirin) APSAC, front-loaded rt-PA or a combination of both agents. The primary end point "unsatisfactory outcome" was a composite clinical end point assessed through hospital discharge.

RESULTS: Patency of the infarct-related artery (Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction [TIMI] grade 2 or 3 flow) at 60 min after the start of thrombolysis was significantly higher in rt-PA-treated patients (77.8% vs. 59.5% for APSAC-treated patients and 59.3% for combination-treated patients [rt-PA vs. APSAC, p = 0.02; rt-PA vs. combination, p = 0.03]). At 90 min, the incidence of both infarct-related artery patency and TIMI grade 3 flow was significantly higher in rt-PA-treated patients (60.2% had TIMI grade 3 flow vs. 42.9% and 44.8% of APSAC- and combination-treated patients, respectively [rt-PA vs. APSAC, p < 0.01; rt-PA vs. combination, p = 0.02]). The incidence of unsatisfactory outcome was 41.3% for rt-PA compared with 49% for APSAC and 53.6% for the combination (rt-PA vs. APSAC, p = 0.19; rt-PA vs. combination, p = 0.06). The mortality rate at 6 weeks was lowest in the rt-PA-treated patients (2.2% vs. 8.8% for APSAC and 7.2% for combination thrombolytic therapy [rt-PA vs. APSAC, p = 0.02; rt-PA vs. combination, p = 0.06]).

CONCLUSIONS: Front-loaded rt-PA achieved significantly higher rates of early reperfusion and was associated with trends toward better overall clinical benefit and survival than those achieved with a standard thrombolytic agent or combination thrombolytic therapy. These findings support the concept that more rapid reperfusion of the infarct-related artery is associated with improved clinical outcome.

Trial: TIMI 4