Variations in outcome of patients from different geographic regions have been observed in many large international trials. We analysed the factors that might contribute to the geographic variations in patient outcome and treatment effect as observed in the PURSUIT trial.In PURSUIT, 9461 patients with acute coronary syndromes without persistent ST-elevation were randomized to the platelet inhibitor eptifibatide or placebo for 72 h in 27 countries in four geographic regions: Western (n=3697) and Eastern Europe (n=1541) as well as North (n=3827) and Latin America (n=396). The primary end-point was the 30-day composite of death or myocardial infarction. In the initial univariate analysis, the treatment effect appeared greater in N. America than in W. Europe, while no benefit was apparent in L. America and E. Europe. However, the confidence intervals were wide and overlapping. To study these differences, a subdivision in an early and late patient outcome and treatment effect was made. Accordingly, we analysed the rate of death or infarction at 72 h censored for percutaneous coronary intervention and the rate between 3 and 30 days, respectively. Additional analyses were performed with different definitions of myocardial infarction using progressively higher thresholds of CK(-MB) elevation. Multivariable analysis was used to evaluate the relation between region and outcome and to determine the adjusted odds ratios for the eptifibatide treatment effect.Major differences in baseline demographics were apparent among the four regions; in particular, more patients from E. Europe had characteristics associated with impaired outcome. Interventional treatment also varied considerably, with more patients from N. America undergoing revascularization. Despite differences in the 72 h event rate, eptifibatide showed a consistent trend towards a reduction in the composite end-point among all four regions and for all definitions of infarction. Relative reductions ranged from 17-42% in W. Europe, 23-35% in N. America, 0-33% in E. Europe, and 55-82% in L. America. After multivariable adjustment, the pattern of benefit with eptifibatide was consistent among the regions. In patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention during study drug infusion in W. Europe (n=266) and N. America (n=931), the relative reduction in myocardial infarction during medical therapy ranged from 56-75% in W. Europe and 14-67% in N. America, while the reduction in procedure-related events ranged from 12-44% and 25-61% for different definitions of infarction. After multivariable adjustment neither benefit nor rebound were apparent after study drug discontinuation, or after 3 days in all regions, except in L. America. In general, the differences in outcome and treatment effect were greatest when the protocol definition of myocardial infarction (CK(-MB) >1 upper normal limit) was applied. Under stricter definitions, these differences became smaller and disappeared with the investigator's assessment.The analysis suggests that the apparent differences in patient outcome and eptifibatide treatment effect can be explained largely by differences in baseline demographics and adjunctive treatment strategies as well as by the methodology of myocardial infarction definition and the adjudication process.
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View details for PubMedID 10666351