The rationale for and comparisons of different antiplatelet treatments in acute coronary syndrome.
Fundamentally, acute coronary syndromes are platelet-centric diseases, resulting from platelet-rich thrombi that develop at the site of vessel wall injury. In addition to aggregation, platelets modulate a plethora of other important pathophysiologic processes, including inflammation and coagulation. Therefore, a primary goal of therapy in the acute setting should be treatment with agents that provide predictable and superior platelet inhibition to prevent further ischemic events that develop from unchecked high platelet reactivity. Translational research studies of patients undergoing percutaneous revascularization have clearly demonstrated that adverse thrombotic outcomes are associated with high platelet reactivity and the latter is now emerging as a potent measurable cardiovascular risk factor. The intensity of antithrombotic therapy is influenced by patient risk. In the highest risk patients with elevated cardiac biomarkers indicative of myonecrosis, current guidelines support the use of early therapy with glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibition, aspirin, and clopidogrel.
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