Bivalirudin, a direct thrombin inhibitor, provides similar ischemic outcomes with significantly less major bleeding compared with unfractionated heparin (UFH) plus a glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor (GPI) in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI). Although the approved labeling for bivalirudin allows for low-dose prolonged postprocedure administration, this practice is not routine. Therefore, we sought to evaluate the safety and efficacy of longer post-PCI infusion.
From our database, we retrospectively compared two groups of patients with acute coronary syndrome undergoing complex PCI, one group treated with UFH+GPI (n = 59) and another with a periprocedural and post-PCI bivalirudin infusion for 4 h (n = 50). Endpoints included periprocedural myocardial infarction (MI), 30-day major adverse cardiac events, and in-hospital major and minor bleeding.
There were no significant differences in the baseline and procedural characteristics of the two groups; most patients (approximately 90%) had complex coronary lesions (the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association type B2/C). There was no significant difference in the rates of periprocedural MI (11.9 vs. 8.0%, P = NS) or 30-day major adverse cardiac events (8.5 vs. 6.0%, P = NS) among patients treated with UFH+GPI or bivalirudin. However, patients who received bivalirudin had significantly lower rates of minor bleeding (20.3 vs. 4.0%, P<0.05), and a trend toward significantly less major bleeding (8.5 vs. 4.0%, P = 0.07). When we compared the group treated with a prolonged bivalirudin infusion with a historical group treated with peri-PCI-only bivalirudin infusion, we observed in the latter an increased incidence of periprocedural MI and a comparable incidence of bleeding.
A prolonged bivalirudin infusion after urgent PCI seems effective in protecting myocardium without increasing bleeding rates, and represents an attractive alternative to the standard pharmacological treatment of UFH+GPI in the catheterization laboratory.