Contemporary approach to the diagnosis and management of non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes.
The management of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) has evolved dramatically over the past decade and, in many respects, represents a rapidly moving target for the cardiologist and internist who seek to integrate these recent advances into contemporary clinical practice. Unstable angina and non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (MI) comprise a growing percentage of patients with ACS and is emerging as a major public health problem worldwide, especially in Western countries, despite significant improvements and refinements in management over the past 20 years. Against this backdrop of a multitude of randomized, controlled clinical trials that have established the scientific foundation upon which evidence-based treatment strategies have emerged and become increasingly refined, the clinician is frequently confronted with panoply of choices that can create uncertainty or confusion regarding "optimal management". While the debate about the ideal approach to the management of non-ST-segment elevation (NSTE) ACS (i.e., routine "early invasive strategy" versus an "ischemia-guided", or "conservative", strategy) has been ongoing for over a decade, clinical trials results provide compelling evidence that intermediate- and high-risk ACS patients derived significant reductions in both morbidity and mortality with mechanical or surgical intervention, especially when revascularization is coupled with aggressive, multifaceted (anti-platelet, antithrombin, anti-ischemic and anti-atherogenic) medical therapy along with risk factor modification. For these reasons, it seems especially timely and appropriate to present a state-of-the-art paper that reviews the latest advances in the management of NSTE ACS, mindful of the fact that even this noble effort to synthesize and integrate a prodigious amount of scientific information and cardiovascular therapeutics is destined to evolve still further as our full-scale assault on optimizing clinical outcomes by harmonizing the advances in mechanical and pharmacologic interventions continues unabated.
Boden, WE; Shah, PK; Gupta, V; Ohman, EM
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