Among patients scheduled for a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI; procedures such as balloon angioplasty or stent placement used to open narrowed coronary arteries), pretreatment with the antiplatelet agent clopidogrel was not associated with a lower risk of overall mortality but was associated with a significantly lower risk of major coronary events, according to a review and meta-analysis of previous studies published in the December 19 issue of JAMA.
"In addition to aspirin, clopidogrel has been shown to improve ischemic outcomes of patients with stable coronary artery disease following PCI and of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS; such as heart attack or unstable angina) who were either medically treated or who had undergone either revascularization by fibrinolysis or PCI," according to background information on the article. "Clopidogrel pretreatment is recommended for patients with ACS and stable coronary artery disease who are scheduled for PCI, but whether using clopidogrel as a pretreatment for PCI is associated with positive clinical outcomes has not been established."
Anne Bellemain-Appaix, M.D., of the Service de Cardiologie-La Fontonne Hospital, Antibes, France, and colleagues conducted a review and meta-analysis of data from randomized trials and registries involving patients with coronary artery disease (stable or with ACS) undergoing catheterization for potential revascularization to evaluate the association between clopidogrel pretreatment with mortality and major bleeding after PCI. After a search of the medical literature, the researchers identified 15 articles published between August 2001 and September 2012 that met the study inclusion criteria: 6 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), 2 observational analyses of RCTs, and 7 observational studies. Pretreatment was defined as the administration of clopidogrel before PCI or catheterization. The primary efficacy and safety end points were all-cause mortality and major bleeding. Secondary end points included major cardiac events.