Coronary care medicine: it’s not your father’s CCU anymore.

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Coronary care medicine: it's not your father's CCU anymore.

Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc. 2004;115:123-34; discussion 134-5

Authors: Antman EM

The management of ST-elevation MI (STEMI) has gone through four phases: 1. The "clinical observation phase"; 2. the "coronary care unit phase"; 3. the "high-technology phase"; and 4. the "evidence-based coronary care phase". A significant advance in the care of patients with acute myocardial infarction that arose as an outgrowth of the evidence-based era was introduction of a lexicon that more accurately reflected contemporary concepts of the pathophysiology underlying myocardial ischemia and infarction. Although considerable improvement has occurred in the process of care for patient with STEMI, room for improvement exists. Despite strong evidence in the literature that prompt use of reperfusion therapy improves survival of STEMI patients such treatment is underutilized and often not administered in an expeditious timeframe relative to the onset of symptom. Even in the reperfusion era, left ventricular dysfunction remains the single most important predictor of mortality following STEMI. After administration of aspirin, initiating reperfusion strategies and, where appropriate, beta blockade all STEMI patients should be considered for inhibition of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Several adjunctive pharmacotherapies have been investigated to prevent inflammatory damage in the infarct zone. Contrary to earlier beliefs that the heart is a terminally differentiated organ without the capacity to regenerate, evidence now exists that human cardiac myocytes divide after STEMI and stem cells can promote regeneration of cardiac tissue. These observations open up the possibility of myocardial replacement therapy after STEMI.

PMID: 17060962 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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