The acute management of ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) has seen significant changes in the past decade. Although the incidence has been declining in the UK, STEMI still gives rise to around 600 hospitalised episodes per million people each year, with many additional cases resulting in death before hospital admission.
In-hospital mortality following acute coronary syndromes has fallen over the past 30 years from around 20% to nearer 5%, and this improved outcome has been attributed to various factors, including timely access to an expanding range of effective interventional and pharmacological treatments. A formal review of the acute management of STEMI is therefore appropriate.
The recently published NICE clinical guideline (CG167: The acute management of myocardial infarction with ST-segment elevation) provides evidence-based guidance on the acute management of STEMI, including the choice of reperfusion strategies, procedural aspects of the recommended interventions, the use of additional drugs before and longside reperfusion therapies, and the treatment of patients who are unconscious or in cardiogenic shock. The guideline development methods and detailed reviews of the evidence considered by the Guideline Development Group (GDG) can be found in the full version of the guideline (http://www.nice.org.uk/CG167), and the priority recommendations are summarised in box 1. Other related NICE clinical guidelines deal with the diagnosis of recent-onset chest pain of suspected cardiac origin http://www.nice.org.uk/CG95), the early management of unstable angina and non-STEMI (http://www.nice.org.uk/CG94), and secondary prevention after myocardial infarction (http://www.nice.org.uk/CG48, currently being updated with publication expected end of 2013).
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