Associazione Nazionale Medici Cardiologi Ospedalieri



The enigma of the ‘smoker’s paradox’ : results from a single-center registry of patients with STEMI undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention.

Paradossi Umberto Massa(Ms) – Ospedale del Cuore FTGM Massa | De Caterina Alberto Massa(Ms) – Ospedale del Cuore FTGM Massa | Raccis Mario Lavagna(Genova) – Ospedale di Lavagna

Background: Smoker’s paradox usually refers to the common observation of a favourable outcome of smoker patients in acute myocardial infarction. The interpretation of this phenomenon is still controversial and not fully explained. We aimed at assessing whether smoking could be associated with mortality in a large cohort of prospectively enrolled patients with ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) referred to primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Methods: From April 2006 to December 2018 a population of 2456 STEMI patients treated with primary PCI were prospectively enrolled in the MATRIX registry. Ischemic time, clinical, demographics, angiographic data and 1-year follow-up were collected.

Results: Among 2546 patients admitted with STEMI 1007 (41%) were current smokers. Smokers were 10 years younger and had lower crude in-hospital and 1-year mortality (1.5% vs 6%, 0.0001 and 5% vs 11%, 0.0001), shorter ischemic time (203 [147-299] vs 220 [154-334] minutes, p=0.002) and shorter decision time (60 [30-135] vs 70 [36-170] minutes, p=0.0063). After propensity-matching, age, cardiogenic shock and low TIMI score were associated with in-hospital mortality, while smoking habit was still associated with reduced mortality. Smoking was also associated with reduced death rate at 1-year follow-up (HR 0.54, 95% CI [0.37 – 0.78]; 0.001).

Conclusions: Our data show a protective link between smoking status and mortality in patients with STEMI, the so called “smoker’s paradox”. This could be explained not only by the shorter ischemic time and younger age of the smoking population but also by a specific pathogenetic effect of smoking underlying the onset of STEMI and response to therapies.