Background - Unfractionated heparin has been the primary anticoagulant therapy for percutaneous coronary intervention for >20 years. Despite the availability of rapid "point of care" testing, little clinical data defining the optimal level of anticoagulation are available. Furthermore, recent reports have advocated the use of low-dose heparin regimens in the absence of large-scale, well-conducted studies to support this practice. Methods and Results - We pooled the data from 6 randomized, controlled trials of novel adjunctive antithrombotic regimens for percutaneous coronary interventions in which unfractionated heparin constituted the control arm. Patients were divided into 25-s intervals of activated clotting times (ACTs), from <275 s to >476 s. In a total of 5216 patients, the incidence of death, myocardial infarction, or any revascularization and major or minor bleeding at 7 days were calculated for each group and compared. An ACT in the range of 350 to 375 s provided the lowest composite ischemic event rate of 6.6%, or a 34% relative risk reduction in 7-day ischemic events compared with rates observed between 171 and 295 s by quartile analysis (P=0.001). Conclusions - Contrary to recent reports, the optimal suppression of ischemic events with unfractionated heparin therapy in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention demands treatment to ACT levels that are substantially higher than currently appreciated. These data define a goal for heparin dosing within coronary interventions and establish a benchmark of optimal unfractionated heparin therapy against which future trials of novel antithrombotic regimens in percutaneous interventions can be compared.
- Clinical trials
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)