Adjunctive thrombus aspiration versus conventional percutaneous coronary intervention in ST-elevation myocardial infarction


  • Conflicts of interest: Nothing to report.

Correspondence to: Jose P.S. Henriques, MD, PhD, Department of Cardiology, B2-115, Academic Medical Center, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail:



The objective of this analysis is to determine the effects on mortality of thrombus aspiration during primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) for ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) compared with conventional PCI.


Adjunctive thrombus aspiration in STEMI improves markers of myocardial reperfusion but evidence for improved survival is limited to the TAPAS trial.


We used data of 3,750 consecutive STEMI patients treated with either conventional PCI or thrombus aspiration between August 1, 2001 and January 1, 2009. For each patient, a propensity score was calculated based on clinical and angiographic characteristics, predicting a patient's probability of having been treated with thrombus aspiration. This propensity score was used in several ways to account for differences between patients treated with and without thrombus aspiration. In our primary analysis, patients treated with thrombus aspiration were matched one-to-one with patients treated with conventional PCI on their propensity score (1,391 matched pairs). Kaplan Meier and Cox regression models were used to estimate the influence of treatment on one-year mortality.


In total, 1,502 patients (40.1%) were treated with thrombus aspiration. In the propensity matched cohort, after one year 7.2% of patients treated with thrombus aspiration had died compared with 9.3% of patients in the control group. The hazard ratio for one-year mortality in patients treated with thrombus aspiration was 0.76 (95% CI: 0.59–0.99; P = 0.043). The hazard ratio remained materially unaltered and statistically significant in secondary analyses, varying between 0.61 and 0.77.


The routine use of thrombus aspiration was associated with reduced one-year mortality in this large real-world patient cohort. These data support the observed survival benefit in the TAPAS trial. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.