Cannon CP, McCabe CH, Henry TD, Schweiger MJ, Gibson RS, Mueller HS, Becker RC, Kleiman NS, Haugland JM, Anderson JL, et al. A pilot trial of recombinant desulfatohirudin compared with heparin in conjunction with tissue-type plasminogen activator and aspirin for acute myocardial infarction: results of the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) 5 trial. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1994;23:993-1003.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to assess the value of recombinant desulfatohirudin (hirudin) as adjunctive therapy to thrombolysis in acute myocardial infarction.

BACKGROUND: Failure to achieve initial reperfusion and reocclusion of the infarct-related artery remain major limitations of thrombolytic therapy despite aggressive regimens of heparin and aspirin. Hirudin, a direct thrombin inhibitor, has been shown in experimental models to enhance thrombolysis and reduce reocclusion.

METHODS: The Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) 5 trial was a randomized, dose-ranging, pilot trial of hirudin versus heparin, given with front-loaded tissue-type plasminogen activator and aspirin to 246 patients with acute myocardial infarction. Patients received either intravenous heparin or hirudin at one of four ascending doses for 5 days. Patients underwent coronary angiography at 90 min and at 18 to 36 h, unless rescue angioplasty was performed.

RESULTS: The primary end point, TIMI grade 3 flow in the infarct-related artery at 90 min and 18 to 36 h without death or reinfarction before the 18- to 36-h catheterization was achieved in 97 (61.8%) of 157 evaluable hirudin-treated patients compared with 39 (49.4%) of 79 evaluable heparin-treated patients (p = 0.07). All four doses of hirudin led to similar findings in the angiographic and clinical end points. At 90 min, TIMI grade 3 flow was present in 105 (64.8%) of 162 hirudin-treated patients compared with 48 (57.1%) of 84 heparin-treated patients (p = NS). Infarct-related artery patency (TIMI grade 2 or 3 flow) was similar in the two groups (82.1% and 78.6%, respectively). At 18 to 36 h, 129 (97.8%) of 132 hirudin-treated patients had a patent infarct-related artery compared with 58 (89.2%) of 65 heparin-treated patients (p = 0.01). Reocclusion by 18 to 36 h occurred in 2 (1.6%) of 123 hirudin-treated patients versus 4 (6.7%) of 60 heparin-treated patients (p = 0.07). Death or reinfarction occurred during the hospital period in 11 (6.8%) of 162 hirudin-treated patients compared with 14 (16.7%) of 84 heparin-treated patients (p = 0.02). Major spontaneous hemorrhage occurred in 1.2% of hirudin-treated patients versus 4.7% of heparin-treated patients (p = 0.09), and major hemorrhage at an instrumented site occurred in 16.3% and 18.6%, respectively (p = NS).

CONCLUSIONS: Hirudin is a promising agent compared with heparin as adjunctive therapy with thrombolysis for acute myocardial infarction, and its evaluation in larger trials is warranted.

Trial: TIMI 5