A randomized comparison of intravenous heparin with oral aspirin and dipyridamole 24 hours after recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator for acute myocardial infarction

Peter L. Thompson, Philip E. Aylward, Jack Federman, Robert W. Giles, Phillip J. Harris, Robert L. Hodge, Greg I C Nelson, Andrew Thomson, Andrew M. Tonkin, Warren F. Walsh

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65 Citations (Scopus)


Background. This study addressed the need for heparin administration to be continued for more than 24 hours after coronary thrombolysis with recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (rt-PA). Methods and Results. A total of 241 patients with acute myocardial infarction were treated with 100 mg rt-PA and a bolus of 5,000 units i.v. heparin followed by 1,000 units/hr i.v. heparin for 24 hours. At 24 hours, 202 patients were randomized to continue intravenous heparin therapy (n=99) in full dosage or to discontinue heparin therapy and begin an oral antiplatelet regimen of aspirin (300 mg/day) and dipyridamole (300 mg/day) (n=103). On prospective recording, there were no differences in the pattern of chest pain, reinfarction, or bleeding complications. Coronary angiography on cardiac catheterization at 7-10 days showed no differences in patency of the infarct-related artery. The proportion of patients with total occlusion (TIMI grade 0-1) of the infarct-related artery was 18.9% in the heparin group and 19.8% in the aspirin and dipyridamole group. In the patients with an incompletely occluded infarct-related artery, the lumen was reduced by 69 ± 2% of normal in the heparin group and 67 ± 2% in the aspirin and dipyridamole group. Left ventricular function assessed on cardiac catheterization and radionuclide study at day 2 and at 1 month showed no differences between the two groups. Left ventricular ejection fraction on radionuclide ventriculography at 1 month was 52.4 ± 1.2% in the heparin group and 51.9 ± 1.2% in the aspirin and dipyridamole group. Conclusions. We conclude that heparin therapy can be discontinued 24 hours after rt-PA therapy and replaced with an oral antiplatelet regimen without any adverse effects on chest pain, reinfarction, coronary patency, or left ventricular function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1534-1542
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1991


  • Anticoagulant
  • Antiplatelet agents
  • Aspirin
  • Coronary angiography
  • Coronary thrombolysis
  • Dipyridamole
  • Heparin
  • Left ventricular function
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Plasminogen activator, recombinant tissue-type

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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