Background ST segment elevation allows the rapid identification of patients with acute myocardial infarction who benefit from emergency reperfusion. Primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) has emerged as the preferred perfusion strategy for patients presenting with ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
Methods and results We studied the effects of the simple passage of an angioplasty guidewire followed by mechanical thrombus aspiration on the ST segment displacement in 289 patients presenting with acute STEMI. Simple guidewire passage led to a statistically significant fall in the mean ST elevation from 5.9 to 4.9 mm (p<0.001), but the mean ST displacement after subsequent mechanical thrombus aspiration was 4.8 mm, not statistically significantly different from guidewire passage. When compared with simple guidewire passage, thrombus aspiration resulted in more patients achieving more than 50% ST resolution (21.8% vs 15.2%, p=0.009), but a higher proportion had a worsening of ST elevation compared to baseline (19.7% vs 13.5%, p=0.041).
Conclusions Mechanical thrombus aspiration in acute STEMI did not improve the mean ST resolution compared with simple guidewire passage. Thrombus aspiration increased the proportion achieving 50% resolution but also increased the proportion who had a worsening of ST elevation. These data may help explain some of the uncertainties surrounding the routine use of thrombus aspiration in STEMI and potentially supports the use of ‘time to angioplasty guidewire passage’ as one of the ways to judge the promptness of PPCI services.
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