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BACKGROUND: Publication of the BRIGHT-4 trial results has restimulated discussion about the optimal periprocedural antithrombotic strategy for patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). It is possible that variation in the infusion duration, may contribute to observed differences in safety-efficacy profiles of bivalirudin in this clinical setting. METHODS: Up to December 2022, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing bivalirudin (either administered peri-procedurally or accompanied by postprocedural infusion) and heparin, both with or without GPI, were searched and entered in a frequentist network meta-analysis. Co-primary endpoints were trial-defined major adverse composite events (MACE) and major bleeding. Incident rate ratios (IRR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) were estimated. RESULTS: 10 RCTs (N = 57,137 patients/month) were included. As compared to heparin, prolonged bivalirudin infusion resulted in lower rates of major bleeding (IRR 0.58, 95 % CI 0.36-0.91), but there was no differences in MACE rates between these strategies. With regard to NACE, prolonged bivalirudin infusion yielded lower risk (IRR 0.86, 95 % CI 0.77-0.96), whereas both bivalirudin and heparin increased risk when coupled with GPI (IRR 1.24, 95 % CI 1.01-1.51 and IRR 1.24, 95 % CI 1.06-1.44, respectively). Both these combination strategies also increased minor bleeding rates (IRR 1.49, 95 % CI 1.16-1.93 and IRR 1.58, 95 % CI 1.29-1.95, respectively, for bivalirudin and heparin). Results were consistent across several sensitivity analyses. CONCLUSION: In patients with ACS undergoing PCI, procedural bivalirudin administration followed by prolonged infusion results in lower major bleeding rates, but there does not appear to be a difference in observed MACE.

Original publication




Journal article


Cardiovasc Revasc Med

Publication Date



Acute coronary syndromes, Anticoagulants, Bivalirudin, Heparin, Percutaneous coronary intervention