Managers & Medicine

Heart attack sufferers have better long-term survival prospects if they are treated with the emergency 'clot-buster' drug, streptokinase, and ordinary aspirin, according to research. Results from the Second International Study of Infarct Survival (ISIS-2) at Oxford University show the survival benefits of streptokinase last for at least 10 years. The survival benefits of short-term aspirin use are also sustained long-term. For every 1,000 patients receiving both drugs following a heart attack, there are about 40 extra survivors after 10 years. Many doctors feared that the early survival benefits might soon be lost, particularly among older patients. However, the study shows the long-term benefits of early treatment are at least as large among older patients as among younger patients.

Baigent C et al. Streptokinase, oral aspirin, both or neither. The ISIS-2 (Second International Study of Infarct Survival) Collaboration Group. Br Med J 1998; 316 (7141): 1337-43.