Low-molecular-weight heparins vs. unfractionated heparin in the setting of percutaneous coronary intervention for ST-elevation myocardial infarction: a meta-analysis


Eliano Pio Navarese, Department of Cardiology and Internal Medicine, Ludwik Rydygier Collegium Medicum, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Skodowskiej-Curie Street No 9, 85-094 Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Tel.: +48 52 585 40 23; fax: +48 52 585 40 24.
E-mail: eliano.navarese@alice.it


Summary. Background: The aim of the current study was to perform two separate meta-analyses of available studies comparing low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWHs) vs. unfractionated heparin (UFH) in ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients treated (i) with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI) or (ii) with PCI after thrombolysis. Methods: All-cause mortality was the pre-specified primary endpoint and major bleeding complications were recorded as the secondary endpoints. Relative risk (RR) with a 95% confidence interval (CI) and absolute risk reduction (ARR) were chosen as the effect measure. Results: Ten studies comprising 16 286 patients were included. The median follow-up was 2 months for the primary endpoint. Among LMWHs, enoxaparin was the compound most frequently used. In the pPCI group, LMWHs were associated with a reduction in mortality [RR (95% CI) = 0.51 (0.41–0.64), P < 0.001, ARR = 3%] and major bleeding [RR (95% CI) = 0.68 (0.49–0.94), P = 0.02, ARR = 2.0%] as compared with UFH. Conversely, no clear evidence of benefits with LWMHs was observed in the PCI group after thrombolysis. Meta-regression showed that patients with a higher baseline risk had greater benefits from LMWHs (r = 0.72, P = 0.02). Conclusions: LMWHs were associated with greater efficacy and safety than UFH in STEMI patients treated with pPCI, with a significant relationship between risk profile and clinical benefits. Based on this meta-analysis, LMWHs may be considered as a preferred anticoagulant among STEMI patients undergoing pPCI.