Adoption of thrombolytic therapy in the management of acute myocardial infarction.
A national survey of 1,065 physicians was carried out to document current use of thrombolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction (AMI). In early 1987, thrombolytic therapy was used by 66% of respondents. Among those who used thrombolytic therapy, 92% used streptokinase, 13% used tissue-type plasminogen activator and 3% used urokinase. Most (72%) used intravenous administration exclusively and only 5% used intracoronary administration exclusively. Despite widespread acceptance of thrombolytic therapy, most physicians gave it to less than 25% of their patients. Duration of symptoms was rated as the single most important factor affecting the decision to use thrombolytic therapy; 45% had a time limit of less than 4 hours and 85% had a time limit of less than 6 hours. Complications of AMI and electrocardiographic findings were factors also considered in the decision to give this therapy. A physician's adoption of thrombolytic therapy was significantly associated with several characteristics: specialty type, number of AMI patients treated, physician age and access to cardiac catheterization. In addition, physicians using thrombolytic therapy had a significantly different use of medications and laboratory tests for all patients with AMI. This survey documents rapid acceptance of thrombolytic therapy for AMI, particularly in patients with short duration of symptoms or evidence of high risk.
Hlatky, MA; Cotugno, H; O'Connor, C; Mark, DB; Pryor, DB; Califf, RM
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