Aims: Patients with acute coronary syndrome who present initially with ST-elevation on the electrocardiogram but, subsequently, show complete normalization of the ST-segment and relief of symptoms before reperfusion therapy are referred to as transient ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and pose a therapeutic challenge. It is unclear what the optimal timing of revascularization is for these patients and whether they should be treated with a STEMI-like or a non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI)-like invasive approach. The aim of the study is to determine the effect of an immediate vs. a delayed invasive strategy on infarct size measured by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR).
Methods and results: In a randomized clinical trial, 142 patients with transient STEMI with symptoms of any duration were randomized to an immediate (STEMI-like) [0.3 h; interquartile range (IQR) 0.2-0.7 h] or a delayed (NSTEMI-like) invasive strategy (22.7 h; IQR 18.2-27.3 h). Infarct size as percentage of the left ventricular myocardial mass measured by CMR at day four was generally small and not different between the immediate and the delayed invasive group (1.3%; IQR 0.0-3.5% vs. 1.5% IQR 0.0-4.1%, P = 0.48). By intention to treat, there was no difference in major adverse cardiac events (MACE), defined as death, reinfarction, or target vessel revascularization at 30 days (2.9% vs. 2.8%, P = 1.00). However, four additional patients (5.6%) in the delayed invasive strategy required urgent intervention due to signs and symptoms of reinfarction while awaiting angiography.
Conclusion: Overall, infarct size in transient STEMI is small and is not influenced by an immediate or delayed invasive strategy. In addition, short-term MACE was low and not different between the treatment groups.
A thoroughly performed and well-designed study, seemingly the first randomized study in patients with transient STEMI. As patients with transient STEMI usually have a very small infarcted area and an often benign evolution, they can be treated with an immediate or delayed invasive strategy with similar outcomes. These data complement current guidelines for both STEMI and NSTEMI.