The detection of elevated cardiac enzyme levels and the occurrence of electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities after revascularization procedures have been the subject of recent controversy. This report represents an effort to achieve a consensus among a group of researchers with data on this subject. Creatine kinase (CK) or CK-MB isoenzyme (CK-MB) elevations occur in 5% to 30% of patients after a percutaneous intervention and commonly during coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). Although Q wave formation is rare, other ECG changes are common. The rate of detection is highly dependent on the intensity of enzyme and ECG measurement. Because most events occur without the development of a Q wave, the ECG will not definitively diagnose them; even the ECG criteria for Q wave formation signifying an important clinical event have been variable. At least 10 studies evaluating > 10,000 patients undergoing percutaneous intervention have demonstrated that elevation of CK or CK-MB is associated not only with a higher mortality, but also with a higher risk of subsequent cardiac events and higher cost. Efforts to identify a specific cutoff value below which the prognosis is not impaired have not been successful. Rather, the risk of adverse outcomes increases with any elevation of CK or CK-MB and increases further in proportion to the level of intervention. This information complements similar previous data on CABG. Obtaining preprocedural and postprocedural ECGs and measurement of serial cardiac enzymes after revascularization are recommended. Patients with enzyme levels elevated more than threefold above the upper limit of normal or with ECG changes diagnostic for Q wave myocardial infarction (MI) should be treated as patients with an MI. Patients with more modest elevations should be observed carefully. Clinical trials should ensure systematic evaluation for myocardial necrosis, with attention paid to multivariable analysis of risk factors for poor long-term outcome, to determine the extent to which enzyme elevation is an independent risk factor after considering clinical history, coronary anatomy, left ventricular function and clinical evidence of ischemia. In addition, tracking of enzyme levels in clinical trials is needed to determine whether interventions that reduce periprocedural enzyme elevation also improve mortality.
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View details for PubMedID 9462562