Maximizing the benefits of thrombolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction.
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Thrombolytic therapy is a huge advance in the management of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The results of large clinical trials over the past 9 years have unequivocally demonstrated its benefit: of every 1000 patients treated 30 will be saved, at a cost of two cases of nonfatal cerebral hemorrhage and seven of noncerebral major hemorrhage. The concurrent use of acetylsalicylic acid increases the benefit of thrombolytic therapy. Sales figures for thrombolytic agents indicate that their use in Canada is less than optimal and lags behind that in several European countries. Major educational efforts are needed to promote awareness of the efficacy of thrombolytic therapy and of optimal approaches for maximizing its potential benefit for patients with AMI.
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