Objective Whether revascularisation is superior to medical therapy in older populations presenting with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes (NSTEACS) remains contentious, with inconclusive evidence from randomised trials. We aimed to compare routine invasive therapy with initial medical management in the elderly presenting with NSTEACS.
Methods MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Controlled Trial Register were searched for studies comparing routine invasive therapy with initial medical management in patients ≥75 years old presenting with NSTEACS. Endpoints included long-term mortality, myocardial infarction (MI), revascularisation, rehospitalisation, stroke and major bleeding reported as ORs.
Results Four randomised trials and three observational studies met inclusion criteria, enrolling a total of 20 540 patients followed up from 6 months to 5 years. Routine invasive therapy reduced mortality (OR 0.67, CI 0.61 to 0.74), MI (OR 0.56, CI 0.45 to 0.70) and stroke (OR 0.53, CI 0.30 to 0.95). Analyses restricted to randomised controlled trials (RCTs) confirmed a reduction in MI (OR 0.51, CI 0.40 to 0.66), revascularisation (OR 0.27, CI 0.13 to 0.56) and a trend to reduced mortality (OR 0.84, CI 0.66 to 1.06) at the expense of major bleeding (OR 2.19, CI 1.12 to 4.28). Differences in major bleeding were unapparent in more recent studies.
Conclusion Routine invasive therapy reduces MI and repeat revascularisation and may reduce mortality at the expense of major bleeding in elderly patients with NSTEACS. Our findings highlight the need for further RCTs to better determine the effect on mortality and contemporary bleeding risk.
- Acute coronary syndromes
- Percutaneous coronary intervention
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Contributors All authors contributed to the paper. SRG and DBB were involved in the planning, literature review, data analysis and writing of the manuscript. LK was involved in the writing of the manuscript. MD was involved in the data analysis. HCL was involved in the planning, literature review and writing of the manuscript.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. Owing to a scripting error, some of the publisher names in the references were replaced with ’BMJ Publishing Group'. This only affected the full text version, not the PDF. We have since corrected these errors and the correct publishers have been inserted into the references.
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