Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) evolves as a time-dependent wave front of ischemia when the abrupt rupture of an unstable fatty plaque initiates coronary thrombosis. The prospect of salvaging potentially viable myocardial tissue has led to the development of reperfusion strategies using thrombolytic agents. The efficacy of thrombolytic therapy is determined in large measure by the speed with which it is initiated. It is therefore vital to minimize the "door-to-needle" time once a patient with AMI arrives at the emergency department. In this issue (see pages 497 to 505) Dr. Jafna L. Cox and associates report that Canadian centres participating in the GUSTO-I trial were significantly slower to initiate thrombolytic therapy than their US counterparts. In this editorial Cox and associates' report is reviewed against the background of similar trials, and strategies to minimize delays in the initiation of thrombolytic therapy are suggested.
Comment On: CMAJ. 1997 Feb 15;156(4):497-5059054819