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OBJECTIVE: The endothelium-derived fibrinolytic factor tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) is a major determinant of vessel patency after coronary plaque rupture and thrombosis. We assessed whether endothelial fibrinolytic capacity predicts atherothrombotic events in patients with coronary heart disease. METHODS AND RESULTS: Plasma t-PA and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 concentrations were measured during intrabrachial substance P infusion in 98 patients with angiographically proven stable coronary heart disease. Forearm blood flow was measured during infusion of substance P and sodium nitroprusside. Cardiovascular events (cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction [MI], ischemic stroke [CVA], and emergency hospitalization for unstable angina) were determined during 42 months of follow-up. Patients experiencing a cardiovascular event (n=19) had similar baseline characteristics to those free of events. Substance P caused a dose-dependent increase in plasma t-PA concentrations (P<0.001). However, net t-PA release was 72% lower in the patients who experienced death, MI, or CVA, and 48% lower in those who suffered death, MI, CVA or hospitalization for unstable angina (P<0.05). Major adverse cardiovascular events were most frequent in those with the lowest fibrinolytic capacity (P=0.03 for trend); patients with the lowest quartile of t-PA release had the highest rate of adverse events (P=0.01). CONCLUSION: Endothelial fibrinolytic capacity, as measured by stimulated t-PA release, predicts the future risk of adverse cardiovascular events in patients with coronary heart disease. We suggest that endothelial fibrinolytic capacity is a powerful novel determinant of cardiovascular risk.

Original publication




Journal article


Arterioscler thromb vasc biol

Publication Date





1651 - 1656


Analysis of Variance, Biomarkers, Cohort Studies, Coronary Angiography, Coronary Disease, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Drug Administration Schedule, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Infusions, Intra-Arterial, Male, Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1, Predictive Value of Tests, Probability, Prospective Studies, Severity of Illness Index, Substance P, Survival Analysis, Tissue Plasminogen Activator, Treatment Outcome