Gibson, C. M., Cannon, C. P., Murphy, S. A., Marble, S. J., Barron, H. V., Braunwald, E. Relationship of the TIMI myocardial perfusion grades, flow grades, frame count, and percutaneous coronary intervention to long-term outcomes after thrombolytic administration in acute myocardial infarction Circulation. 2002;105(16):1909-13.

BACKGROUND: Although 90-minute TIMI flow grades (TFGs), corrected TIMI frame counts (CTFCs), and TIMI myocardial perfusion grades (TMPGs) have been associated with 30-day outcomes, we hypothesized that these indices would be related to long-term outcomes after thrombolytic administration.

METHODS AND RESULTS: As a substudy of the TIMI 10B trial (tissue plasminogen activator versus tenecteplase), 49 centers carried out 2-year follow-up. TIMI grade 2/3 flow (Cox hazard ratio [HR] 0.41, P=0.001), reduced CTFCs (faster flow, P=0.02), and an open microvasculature (TMPG 2/3) (HR 0.51, P=0.038) were all associated with improved 2-year survival. Rescue percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) of closed arteries (TFG 0/1) at 90 minutes was associated with reduced mortality (P=0.03), and mortality trended lower with adjunctive PCI of open (TFG 2/3) arteries (P=0.11). In a multivariate model correcting for previously identified correlates of mortality (age, sex, pulse, left anterior descending coronary artery infarction, and any PCI during initial hospitalization), patency (TFG 2/3) (HR 0.32, P<0.001), CTFC (P=0.01), and TMPG 2/3 remained associated with reduced mortality (HR 0.46, P=0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: Both improved epicardial flow (TFG 2/3 and low CTFCs) and tissue-level perfusion (TMPG 2/3) at 90 minutes after thrombolytic administration are independently associated with improved 2-year survival, suggesting complementary mechanisms of improved long-term survival. Although rescue PCI reduced long-term mortality, improved microvascular perfusion (TMPG 2/3) before PCI was also related to improved mortality independently of epicardial blood flow and the performance of rescue or adjunctive PCI. Further prospective trials are warranted to re-examine the benefit of early PCI with thrombolysis.

Trial: TIMI 10B