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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2003 October;51(5):531-46

language: English

The expanding role of antiplatelet agents in coronary artery disease. A current review of aspirin, glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors, and the thienopyridines

Hostetter J. C, Bhatt D. L.


The platelet has assumed an increasingly important role in cardiovascular medicine as our understanding of the pathophysiology of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) has evolved. Plaque rupture, platelet aggregation, and thrombus formation occur as a result of complex interaction between the platelet, the endothelium, and various inflammatory cells and circulating proteins. Aspirin continues to form the foundation of any anti-ischemic regimen, but cardiologists have long recognized the need for newer, more potent antiplatelet agents. Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor antagonists and thienopryidines have been developed over the past decade and now serve as powerful complements to aspirin in the prevention and treatment of coronary events. The paper will begin with a review of aspirin as well as a discussion of the concept of aspirin resistance. The rapidly expanding body of knowledge supporting the use of glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor blockers and thienopyridines will then be addressed, with an emphasis on reconciling recent controversies in the literature. Future advances in the treatment of coronary artery disease will likely occur as we further refine the role of these established antiplatelet drugs and develop agents that bind to novel targets in the thrombotic cascade.

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