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Primary PCI : Making “Non-Sense” out of sense !

Posted Jun 02 2012 12:42pm

In the management of STEMI , many  of us  believe  , contraindication  exists only for thrombolysis . In fact  , there is  a big list  of contra’s for primary PCI as well  . Few  books mention about it and  few discuss about it  . It comes under many broad categories .Time , technical, patient  and  concept  related

  • Late presentation > 12 hours (This is the most important  contraindication  . 12 h is the time taken for  death of  myocytes . Myocardium will not  bother by which modality it is going to be rescued ! It simply  won’t give any  grace time  and never feel privileged to be rescued by PCI !)  The supposedly time independent beneficial effects of PCI  was  never proved convincingly !
  • Uncomplicated , fully evolved, spontaneously re-perfused   ( successful  )  STEMI  (At-least  10 % of STEMI population  ) . This is  common in RCA STEMI .
  • Primary PCI  should not be done in  low volume centers with poor expertise  ( less than  2 -3 per month ?)
  • Lack of sufficient hardware .
  • Co-Morbid conditions
  • Very elderly ( Controversial … some may call it as an  absolute  indication ! Such is the status of EBM in 21st century !)
  • Any recent bleeding conditions carry equal risk as that of thrombolysis

The list of relative contradictions  that are  widely reported in literature  for thromolysis may apply in PCI as well .The risk of bleeding is many fold higher when  multiple anti-platelet agent /Heparin are used .The usage of 2b -3a is also rampant in many centers .  A recent hemorrhagic  stroke is  an absolute contraindication  for PCI as well.(If only you do a PCI without anti-platelet  agents).With number of complex anti-thrombotic drugs knocking the d0ors of cath lab , the problem is set to grow further.

Final message

Never underestimate the  potential  peri -procedural bleeding risk during PCI  .It can easily  exceed that of a thrombolytic agent  in susceptible individuals !

Primary PCI is a great innovation and is a gift  of modern science to human race . But , when  selecting the patients  ,  many of us  continue to interpret  this issue  wrongly. We seem to think , in a given patient  , if  thrombolysis is contraindicated  ,  he or she will automatically become eligible for  primary  PCI It is a dangerous assumption and  is rarely true  . There are umpteen number of situations were both are contraindicated . I  argue the  intervention community to publish specific guidelines with absolute and relative contraindication  for primary  PCI as well .

After thought

If  a patient is not eligible for both thrombolysis  as well as PCI what to do ?  Is it not a crime to watch a patient with STEMI simply losing his myocytes ?

It may seem so  , when we look at  superficially   but  be reminded even simple heparin therapy has saved many lives in such a situations .

Link to related You tube video


That  elusive  uncommon  sense

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