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February 2, 2000

Primary Angioplasty vs Thrombolysis in Elderly Patients—Reply

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Fishbein FellowIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(5):601-602. doi:10.1001/jama.283.5.601

In Reply: We attempted to address most of the issues raised by Dr Thiemann in our data analysis. First, as with any observational study, it is impossible to identify and adjust for all differences between patients who receive one therapy vs another. We agree that a randomized clinical trial is the appropriate study design to determine treatment efficacy. However, when data are lacking, as in the case of primary angioplasty in elderly patients, careful observational studies can add important effectiveness data to the debate about treatment choice. Observational studies have the additional benefit of providing real-world data that may support randomized trial findings in more select patients. This is best illustrated by Thiemann's observation of time to treatment in the CCP cohort. Although times in the CCP were substantially longer than the times reported in GUSTO-IIb,1 the longer time to treatment we reported in patients undergoing primary angioplasty is consistent with treatment times reported in the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction2 and is likely to be more representative of community norms than inherent selection bias in the CCP cohort. Furthermore, these longer times to treatment would likely create a bias to reduce the benefit of primary angioplasty.

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