New analysis highlights need for protective therapy to reduce risk of repeat heart attacks

AstraZeneca announced today the publication of a new analysis from an ongoing real-world quality registry that suggests the risk of experiencing a repeat heart attack (also known as a myocardial infarction or MI) from occlusions in non-stented arteries is twice as high as the risk stemming from the initially stented artery following a first heart attack.

The results of PRECLUDE, an analysis of data from the ongoing SWEDEHEART quality registry, show that in people whose coronary artery disease (CAD) affects more than one major blood vessel, the risk of a further heart attack remains from occluded arteries that were not stented at the time of their first heart attack. Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, these insights may impact future decisions on the type and duration of medical treatment following an initial heart attack.

Dr Stefan James, Uppsala University Hospital and Uppsala Clinical Research Center, and study author, said:

We know that a substantial proportion of patients who undergo a successful PCI [percutaneous coronary intervention] following a heart attack go on to experience further events. The PRECLUDE analysis is significant because it makes clear that this risk is also driven by existing occlusions left untreated with PCI and stenting. The results reinforce that stenting alone is not enough and that effective secondary prevention medication is needed to reduce this real risk of repeat heart attacks.

An estimated seven million people worldwide experience a potentially fatal heart attack every year, while more than 110 million live with CAD. Heart attacks are the most common cause of heart failure (HF) worldwide and can lead to angina, irregular heartbeat and depression, among other conditions.

PRECLUDE is a real-world observational cohort study in 108,615 patients who had experienced a first MI and were enrolled in the SWEDEHEART (Swedish Web-system for Enhancement and Development of Evidence-based Care in Heart Disease Evaluated According to Recommended Therapies) quality registry between 2006 and 2014. The researchers followed patients in the registry who had undergone PCI for occluded arteries linked to their heart attack – known as culprit lesions – and checked if subsequent heart attacks were caused either by these culprit lesions or by previously unstented occlusions – non-culprit lesions.

Of the patients who underwent PCI, culprit lesions for the index heart attack were identified in 44,332 cases: 3,464 (8%) had another heart attack of which 1,243 (36%) originated from a non-culprit lesion and 655 (19%) from the culprit lesion at some point during follow-up (median of just over three years).

PRECLUDE’s analysis offers a better understanding of long-term disease progression in CAD, the risks for heart attack survivors, and whether subsequent heart attacks occur in stented arteries or in new or progressive occlusions.

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