A young man aged around 40 years, had a STEMI was promptly thrombolysed in a small hospital located about 40 KM away in the suburbs of my city Chennai. They did an awesome job of saving the patient life and salvaging the myocardium.

Now begins the story . . . one of the non-medical person who is the owner of the hospital has an unfortunate working  business relationship with a frighteningly big nearby hospital  which had signed a memorandum of irresponsible understanding . It demanded any  patient who arrives in the small hospital with MI should be transferred at earliest opportunity to them.

So, an ambulance was arranged  and the patient (with a fairly well reperfused heart ) was shifted  in an emergency fashion . It reached desired destination after nicely chugging along the choked chaotic Chennai evening traffic for 45 minutes.

The guy was taken directly to cath lab through the side doors to perform a second salvage  procedure on a successfully opened IRA. Young cardiology consultants  in designer cath suite welcomed the smiling ACS patient to their posh new lab .Did few rapid radial shots, mumbled among themselves for few minutes,  decided to stent  a minimal LAD lesion for a patient who was in  zero distress with well-preserved LV function.

*The relatives of the patients were curious when they were asked sign a fresh set of consent which elaborately  mentioned about possible life risk during the procedure.

The patient’s wife  was clearly  amused and she pointed out to the superior cardiologists about  the earlier briefing by the Inferior freelance cardiologist who treated him in the previous hospital. She recalled , “I was told in confident terms  that  Initial thrombolysis  has been spectacularly  successful and bulk of the treatment is over and risk of complication has dramatically reduced”.

Then why is this distressing risk taking story again ,  she asked ?

The doctors hurriedly explained ,”this procedure is different. We are sorry to say we have no other option but to add  further risk to you” ! but , its all for your good !

Why should I ?  If the initial lysis is very successful  why do you want to meddle with it again ?

No Madam , you are ill-informed , you can’t talk like that .This is what modern  science  is all about. Leave the professional decision to us. We need to check immediately  whether the lysis is really successful .We can’t rely on the ECG.Further, true success lies in stenting the lesion as we fear the ill-fated site may close again.We are  taught to practice protocols based on standard scientific guidelines. This hospital has highest rating in-terms of quality care. That’s why we got updated ISO 2000  NABH accreditation

The women who is a soft ware engineer was smartly and  scientifically silenced in 5 minutes flat !

Post-amble :

What happened  to the patient then ? (When you fear something it happens is in’t the  Murphy’s law ?)

The apparently asymptotic and comfortable patient had uneventful PCI. A  long drug eluting  stent  was  implanted in recanalized  lesion in LAD with around 30 % narrowing that ended with an innocuous looking diagonal pinch. The procedure was uneventful , however next day he developed some fresh ECG changes and chest pain . The worried team took him for another angio found  stent was patent But , ultimately after a stressful 3 days of stay , some thing went wrong he ended up with new LV dysfunction.He got discharged fine with a caution  that , his stent needs to intensively monitored for the next 1 year since technically he had recurrent ACS !

Lessons we don’t learn from such cases.

When two procedures are done to accomplish the same aim (Reperfusion) , but with  differing success rates, expertise, time ,and unpredictable hazards , the benefits from them may not add together. There is clear knowledge deficit here. Scientific data can never provide fair answers to  these questions  as all real life cofounders can never be recreated in study population.

While we expect 1+1 to become  two in pharmaco-Invasvie strategy  ,one should realise it may end up with  either zero or even  – 2 .

1 -1 = 0

-1 + (-1)=  -2 ?

Learning cardiology from lay persons 

The patient’s shrewd wife threw this question ,

After two modes of re-perfusion done sequentially in my  husband’s  heart ,  at a total cost of Rs4.5Lakhs Why he  is  still left with significant LV dysfunction (Which was  around 40% EF.)

The query raised by the lady appeared much more crucial and logical than the ones discussed in many top-notch live interventional workshops we attend every few months!

As usual , I started mulling over the issue. There is something wrong with the way , we  understand  the pharmaco invasive approach-PIA .You go with it only if  initial pharmacological  approach has failed.

Of Course ,there is one more modality possible ie Pharmaco -Angio strategy where in, you look at the coronary anatomy and take a call ! This sounds good , the only issue is taking a right call ! My experience suggests wrong calls are the rule and  exceptions are rare. Then a whole new issue erupts about all those non IRA lesions

Final message

So,  til we have gain complete self-control over our evolved ignorance and evolving knowledge , it is better to follow this proposed  funny new ACS algorithm called “Pharmaco -non invasive” approach (PNIA)  in asymptomatic ACS patients  who have had apparently successful lysis.

*Please note, Incidentally  PNIA actually  refers to simple good old traditional stand alone thrombolysis.

Counter point

No one can deny Interventional cardiology carries a risk of untoward effects.Don’t blow this out of proportion. Do you know, how many lives have been saved by routine Pharmaco -Invasive approach ?

I am not sure , my experience may be limited.Let me ask the readers. Is routine PIA is warranted in all asymptomatic , successfully lysed STEMIs ?

100% occlusion of a coronary artery result in STEMI.This includes both thrombus and mechanical component .We are very much blinded till we touch , feel and see the lesion with a wire or IVUS to quantify the mechanical component’s  contribution in the genesis of  STEMI.It is generally believed (True as well ) thrombus is the chief culprit .It can even be 100 % thrombotic STEMI with  just a residual endothelial  erosion and hence
zero mechanical component .However , the point of contention that non flow limiting lesion is more likely to cause a thrombotic STEMI than a flow liming
lesion  seems to be biased and misunderstood scientific fact .

What happens once 100 % occlusion take place ?

Sudden occlusion , is expected to evoke a strong fire fighting response within the coronary artery.The immediate reaction is the activation of  tissue plasminogen system. In this aftermath  few succumb . ( Re-perfusion arrhythmia  generated as VF ) .The TPA system activates and tries to lyse the clot.The volume , morphology, attachment, content of thrombus ,  and the elasticity of fibrin mesh , location of  platelet core would determine the life and dissolvablity of thrombus. Even a trickle flow can keep the distal vessel patent .(Please note a timely TIMI 2 flow can be a greater achievement than a delayed TIMI 3  flow !)

thrombus propgation
What happens to the natural history of thrombus in STEMI ?
Thrombus formed over the culprit lesion can follow any of the following course

  •  Can remain static
  •  Get lysed by natural or pharmacological means
  •  Progress distally (By fragmentation or by moving en-mass )
  •  Grow proximal and and involve more serious proximal side branch obstruction
  • Organise and become a CTO

Factors determining thrombus migration

The interaction between the hemodynamic  forces that push a thrombus distally and hemo-rheological factors that promote fresh proximal thrombus formation are poorly understood. The altered intra-coronary milieu with a fissured plaque covered by  platelet vs RBC / fibrin core,  totally of obstruction,  reperfusing forces , re-exposure of raw areas and  the distal vessel integrity all matters.

While, logic would tell us,  thrombus more often migrates  distally  assisted by the direction of blood flow, an  opposite concept also seeks attention , ie since the blood flow is sluggish  in the proximal (to obstruction site )more thrombus forms in segments proximal to obstruction.

(In fact, its presumed  in any acute massive proximal LAD STEMI , it takes hardly few minutes for the thrombus to  queue up proximaly and  clog the bifurcation and spill over to LCX or even reach left main and result in instant mechanical death.)

What is the significance of length and longitudinal resistance of the thrombotic segment in STEMI ?

If thrombus is the culprit let us get rid of it , this concept looks nice on paper , but still  we don’t  know why thrombus aspiration in STEMI is not consistently useful. We also know little about  the length of the thrombotic  segment .When a guide wire is passed over a STEMI ATO it may cross smoothly like  “cutting a slice of  butter” in some , while in few we struggle and  end up with severe no-reflow inspite of great efforts .Why ?

What is the Impact of distal collateral flow in flushing fresh thrombus ?

The efficacy of collateral flow in salvaging myocardium is underestimated. Distal vessel flow if perfused partially by acute collaterals the thrombus load is not only less it’s soft and fail to get organised early that would help cross the lesion easily.

Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi ,  father of my country , India , made these observations in year 1925  about the  fundamental constituents of  violence in society . These words of monumental wisdom came when he was  addressing young Indians in a country- side rally .

mahatma gandhi quotes medical science humanity

Note, his finger points to , what  exactly is relevant to our profession ! He emphasized this  nearly  100 years ago, when medical science was at its infancy .One can only guess what would be Mahatma’s comment about our profession in it’s  current form !

Should we include moral, behavioral and ethical classes  right from the first year of medical  school along with Anatomy , physiology and bio chemistry.Medical council of India obviously need to burn more mid night oil , I wish it happens in my life time. !

Here is a  video recipe  !

Please click here to  see more videos from my you tube site

Prosthetic valve implantation has revolutionized the management of  valvular heart disease . The original concept valve  was a ball in a cage valve  , still considered as a  fascinating discovery.  It was conceived by the young Dr Starr and made by Engineer Edwards  .This was followed   by long hours of arguments,  debates and  experiments that ran into many months . The  silent corridors of  Oregon hospital Portland USA remain the only witness  to their hard work and motivation.  At last,  it happened , the first human valve was implanted in the year 1960. Since then . . . for nearly  50 years these valves  have done a seminal  job for the mankind.

With the advent of  disc valve and bi-leaflet valve in the  later decades of 20th century , we had to say a reluctant good-bye to this valve.

There is a  lingering question among many of the current generation cardiologists and surgeons why this valve became extinct ?

Starr and Edwards with their child !

We in India , are witnessing these old warrior inside the heart functioning for more than 30 years.From my institute of Madras medical college  which probably has inserted more Starr Edwards valve than any other  during the 1970s and 80s by Prof . Sadasivan , Solomon victor , and Vasudevan and others .

It is still a mystery why this valve lost its popularity and ultimately died a premature death.The modern hemodynamic  men  working from a theoretical labs thought  this valve was  hemodynamically  inferior. These Inferior valves worked  like a  power horse  inside the hearts  the poor Indian laborers  for over 30 years.

A Starr Edwards valve rocking inside the heart in mitral position

The cage which gives  a radial support* mimic  sub valvular apparatus, which none of the other valves can provide.

* Mitral  apparatus has 5 major  components. Annulus, leaflets, chordae, pap muscle, LV free wall.None of the artificial valves has all these components.  Though , we would love to have all of them technically it is simply not possible.  The metal cage of Starr Edwards  valve partially satisfies this  , as  it acts as a virtual sub valvular apparatus.Even though the cage has no contact with LV free wall, the mechano hydrolic  transduction of  LV forces to the annulus  is possible .

Further , the good hemodyanmics of this valve indicate , the cage ensures co axial blood  flow  across the mitral inflow throughout diastole. .Unlike the bi-leaflet valve ,  where the direction of  blood flow is determined by the quantum of leaflet excursion  in every beat . In bileaflet valves  each leaflet has independent determinants of valve  motion . In Starr Edwards valve the ball is the leaflet . In contrast to bi-leaflet valve , the contact area  of the  ball and the blood in Starr Edwards  is a smooth affair  and  ball makes sure  the LV forces are equally transmitted to it’s surface .

The superiority of bi-leaflet valves and disc valves  (Over ball and cage ) were  never proven convincingly in a randomized fashion . The other factor which pulled down this valve’s popularity was the supposedly high profile nature of this valve. LVOT tend to get narrowed in few undersized hearts.  This  can not be an  excuse , as no consistent  efforts were made to miniaturize this valve which is  distinctly possible.

Sudden deaths from  Starr Edwards valve  .

  • Almost unheard in our population.
  • The major reason  for the long durability of this valve is due to the  lack of  any metallic moving points .
  • Absence of hinge  in this  valve  confers  a huge mechanical  advantage with  no stress points.
  • A globe / or a ball  has  the universal hemodynamic advantage. This shape makes it difficult for thrombotic focus to stick and grow.

Final message

Science is considered as sacred as our religion Patients believe in us. We believe in science. A  good  durable valve  was  dumped from this world  for no good reason. If commerce is the  the main issue ( as many still believe it to be ! )  history will never  forgive those people who were  behind the murder of this innocent device.

Cardiologists and Cardio thoracic surgeons are equally culpable  for the pre- mature exit of this valve from human domain.  Why didn’t they protest ?  We  can get some solace  ,  if  only we can impress upon  the current valve manufacturers  to  give a fresh lease of life to this valve .


It is often said life is a cycle , time machine rolls without rest and reach  the same  point  again and again . This is  applicable for the  knowledge cycle as well .

We  live a life ,  which is infact a  “fraction of a time”(<100years) when we consider the evolution of life in our planet for over 4 million years.

Man has survived and succumbed to various natural and  self inflicted diseases &  disasters. Currently,  in this  brief phase of life  , CAD is the major epidemic , that confronts  modern  man.It determines the ultimate  life expectancy . The fact that ,  CAD is a new age  disease   and  it was  not  this rampant ,   in our ancestors  is well known .The disease has evolved with man’s pursuit for knowledge and wealth.

A simple example of how the management of CAD over 50 years will  help assess the importance of  “Time in medical therapeutics”

  • 1960s: Life style modification and Medical therapy  is  the standard of care in all stable chronic  CAD The fact is medical and lifestyle management remained the only choice in this period as   other options were not available. (Absence of choice was  a blessing as we subsequently realised  ! read further )
  • The medical  world started looking for options to manage CAD.
  • 1970s : CABG was  a major innovation for limiting angina .
  • 1980s: Plain balloon angioplasty a revolution in the management of CAD.
  • 1990s: Stent scaffolding of    the coronaries  was  a great add on .Stent  was too  dangerous  for routine use  was to be used only in bail out situations
  • Mid 1990s : Stents  reduced restenosis. Stents are  the greatest revolution for CAD management.Avoiding stent in a PCI  is unethical , stents  should be liberally used. Every PCI should be followed by stent.
  • Stents have potential complication so a good luminal dilatation with stent like result (SLR)  was  preferred so that we can avoid stent related complications.
  • 2000s: Simple  bare metal stents are not enough .It also has significant restenosis.
  • 2002: BMS are too notorius for restenosis and may be dangerous to use
  • 2004 : Drug eluting stents are god’s gift to mankind.It eliminates restenosis by 100% .
  • 2006:  Drug eluting stents not only eliminates restenosis it eliminates many patients suddenly by subacute stent thrombosis
  • 2007 : The drug is not  the culprit in DES it is the non bio erodable polymer that causes stent thrombosis. Polymer free DES  or   biodegradable stent , for temporary scaffolding  of the coronary artery  (Poly lactic acid )  are likely to  be the standard of care .
  • All stents  are  potentially dangerous for the simple reason any metal within the coronary artery  has a potential for acute occlusion.In chronic CAD it is not at all necessary to open the occluded coronary arteries , unless  CAD is severely symptomatic in spite of best  medical therapy.
  • 2007: Medical management is superior to PCI  in most of the situations in chronic CAD  .(COURAGE study ) .Avoid PCI whenever possible.
  • 2009 :The fundamental principle of CAD management  remain unaltered. Life style modification,  regular  exercise ,  risk factor reduction, optimal doses of anti anginal drug, statins and aspirin  is the time tested recipe for effective management of CAD .

So the CAD  therapeutic  journey  found  it’s  true  destination  ,  where it started in 1960s.

Final message

Every new option of therapy must be tested  against every past option .There are other reverse cycles  in cardiology  that includes the  role of diuretics  in SHT , beta blockers in CHF etc. It is ironical , we are in the era  of rediscovering common sense with sophisticated research methodology .What our ancestors know centuries ago , is perceived to be great scientific breakthroughs . It takes  a  pan continental , triple  blinded  randomised trial   to prove physical activity is good  for the heart .(INTERHEART , MONICA  studies etc) .

Medical profession is bound to experience hard times in the decades to come ,  unless we  look back in time and “constantly scrutinize”  the so called  scientific breakthroughs and  look  for genuine treasures for a great future !

Common sense protects more humans than modern science and  it comes free of cost  too . . .

NSTEMI  constitutes a  very heterogeneous population .The cardiac   risk   can vary  between very low to very high .  In contrast ,  STEMI patients  carry  a high risk for  electro mechanical complication including   sudden death .They all need immediate treatment  either with  thrombolysis or PCI to open up the blood vessel  and salvage the myocardium.

The above concept , may  be true in   many situations  ,  but what we fail to recognize   is  that ,   STEMI   also  is  a heterogeneous clinico pathological  with varying risks and outcome !

Let us see briefly ,  why this  is very important  in the management of STEMI

Management of STEMI  has undergone great  change  over the past 50 years and  it is the standing example of evidence based coronary care in the modern era ! The mortality  ,  in the early era was around 30-40% . The advent of coronary care units, defibrillators, reduced the mortality to around 10-15%  in 1960 /70s . Early use of heparin , aspirin   further improved the outcome .The inhospital mortality  was greatly  reduced to a level of  7-8% in the thrombolytic  era. And ,  then  came the interventional approach, namely primary PCI ,  which is now considered the best form of reperfusion when done early by an experienced team.

Inspite of this wealth of evidence   for the   superiority  of PCI  , it is only a fraction of  STEMI patients get  primary PCI   even in some  of the  well equipped centers ( Could be as low as  15 %)

Why ? this paradox

Primary PCI   has   struggled  to establish itself  as a global  therapeutic concept  for STEMI ,   even after   20 years of it’s introduction (PAMI trial)  .  If we  attribute ,  lack of   infrastructure  , expertise are  responsible for this low utility of primary PCI , we are mistaken ! There are so many institutions , at least in developing world ,   reluctant to do primary PCI  for varied reasons.( Affordability , support system , odd hours ,and finally perceived fear of untoward complication !)

Primary PCI may be a great treatment modality , but it comes with a inherent risk related to the procedure.

In fact the early hazard could exceed the potential benefit in many of the low risk STEMI  patients !

All STEMI’s are not  same , so all does not require same treatment !

Common sense and logic would   tell us any medical condition should be risk stratified before applying the management protocol. This will enable  us to avoid applying “high risk  – high benefit”  treatments in low risk patients . It is a great surprise,  the cardiology community has extensively researched to risk stratify NSTEMI/UA   ,  it has  rarely  considered risk stratification of STEMI before  starting the treatment.

In this context , it should  be emphasized  most of the clinical trails on   primary PCI  do not address  the clinical  relevance and the  differential outcomes   in various  subsets of  STEMI .

Consider the following two cases.

Two young men with STEMI  , both present within  3  hours   after  onset of symptoms

  1. ST elevation in V1 -V6 , 1 , AVL   ,  Low blood pressure , with severe  chest pain.
  2. ST elevation in 2 ,3, AVF , hemodynamically stable , with minimal  or no  discomfort .

In the above example,   a  small inferior  MI by a distal RCA occlusion  ,  and a proximal LAD lesion jeopardising entire anterior wall , both  are  categorized as STEMI !

Do you want to advocate same treatment  for both ?  or Will you  risk stratify the STEMI and treat individually ?  (As we do in NSTEMI !)

Current guidelines , would  suggest PCI for both situations. But , logistic ,  and real world experience would clearly favor thrombolysis for the second patient .

Does that mean,  the second patient is getting an inferior modality of treatment ?

Not at all . In fact there is a strong case for PCI being inferior in these patients as the risk of the procedure may far outweigh the benefit especially if it is done on a  random basis  by  not so well experienced cath lab team.

(Note : Streptokinase  or TPA does not  vary it’s action ,  whether given by  an ambulance drive or a staff nurse or even a  cardiologist !  .In contrast ,  the infrastructure and expertise have the  greatest impact on the success and failure  of PCI )

Final message

So , it is argued the world cardiology societies(ACC/ESC etc)  need to risk stratify STEMI (Like we do in NSTEMI ) into low risk, intermediate risk and high risk categories and advice primary PCI only for high risk patients.

Here is a 3-minute algorithm for the management of acute pulmonary embolism. Just need to ask 3 questions.

Caution: User discretion is advised. Tainted with reasonably acceptable levels of non-scientific content.

Click over the image for a high-resolution slide

Some more critical  questions need to be answered.

What is hemodynamic stability?

It is purely based on clinical signs and judgment.(One need to be doubly sure to rule out hypovolemia and sepsis-related hypotension)

Is RV dysfunction equivalent to hemodynamic stability?

No, it is not. Clinical instability must be associated.( The dogma is,  if the patient is stable even if there is significant RV dysfunction by echo , that RV dysfunction is not attributable to the current episode of PE)

Can we diagnose and proceed with lysis without CT pulmonary angiogram confirmation?

Yes, you can provide your suspicion is too strong or you have the extraordinary talent to argue/defend even a fatal bleed ( with your boss or in medical audit ) in a patient who was subsequently proven not to suffer from PE .

How to switch over to Lysis from Heparin alone protocol?

Occasionally one may require to do it. There is an added risk of bleeding here. It can’t be avoided in some situations as Initially, it appear as low-risk PE later on becoming more Intense. Generally, high-risk unstable patients should receive lysis straightaway.

Is 60/60 sign is really useful in deciding lysis?

60 /60 sign tell us if Pulmonary artery acceleration time (PAT) and the TR jet both are less than 60 the likely hood of PE is high in a patient with suspected PE.

  • This sign recently got popular not because of its utility, rather because of its simplicity and attractive caption.
  • It may be very specific but least sensitive (<20%) So it can never be used as a screening test.
  • It also fails to differentiate chronic RV dysfunction from acute RV dysfunction.
  • The PAT is strongly influenced by RV dysfunction (It pulls it down below 60 as PAT is dependent on RV Dp/Dt and falsely diagnosing PE
  • 60/60 sign adds up to the value of  Mconllels sign and can confirm PE with almost 100% specificity.

Pulmonary atresia with VSD is one of the complex CHD subsets that requires a meticulous understanding of anatomy, physiology of pulmonary circulation. It can be termed as TAPAC -Total anomalous pulmonary arterial connection in extreme cases. Should we attempt to reverse this total chaotic pulmonary blood supply is the question?

It demands a highly focused cath study(hands & brain) and CT Imaging which might actually throw more light. Post-study Interaction with surgeon and team of cardiologist are vital. The decision to take up the challenge of surgery or abandoning poses equal intellectual stress. Continuous and critical decisions need to be taken. Repeat surgeries and cath based Interventions are often a rule.  Very few centers have mastered this surgery.

A single slide presentation


pulmonary atresia 4

In spite of all technological developments in pediatric cardiac surgery, there is considerable variations and expectation of the surgical outcome. The major surprise is the original Melbourne group(Ref 1 )  that advocated the uni-focalization as a  concept has almost abandoned this. Stanford and other groups still continue to use this technique more often as a single-stage procedure to improve the outcome.

Let us hope these children get the best of the right mix of technology and natural survival power and more importantly we must ensure the former do not interfere with the later



Post ample

Surgery has definitely  revolutionized the outcome in neonates and children in less severe forms of PA with good central pulmonary arteries ( Most of the Barbero Marcial Type A and many type B) The perceived negativity in this post regarding the outcome of surgery is primarily belong to Barbero Type B and C


Barbero-Marcial M , Jatene A Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. Surgical management of the anomalies of the pulmonary arteries in the tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia.1990 Jan;2(1):93-107. 


Pericardial effusion is often detected in patients with Infective endocarditis. Incidence can be as high as 25% . Most often it is mild, can be moderate in few.


  1. Sympathetic effusion in response to endocardial infection. It’s never more than minimal. (Evidence ? it’s only an assumption)
  2. IE related cardiac failure (Raised systemic venous pressure to which pericardial veins drain)
  3. Local sepsis, Abcess formation tracks to pericardial space through transmural lymphatics
  4. Fungal , granulomatous , Tuberculous IE (Rare) Here IE and PE  share the same pathology
  5. Part of systemic sepsis activated Immune mechanism (Polyseroists)
  6. Renal Involvement of IE-Renal failure
  7. Postoperative pericardial effusion in Prosthetic valve IE (Common, often loculated)

Clinical Implication

  • If the pericardial effusion is more than mild, it often denotes worse outcome. This implies more extensive infection or a marker of extracardiac causes of effusion like renal dysfunction.
  • Effusion may predispose to local dissemination of infection and ends up as peri-annular abscess is whether it is a cause or effect of effusion remains to be understood.It is often exudate as one would expect, but transudative  effusions also occur and would indicate more benign course.
  • The sterility of pericardial fluid has not been proven. Culture studies are rarely done from effusions associated with IE.
  • Pericardial effusions appear more often seen in IE of right heart valves. They turn out to be  IV drug abusers.
  • Contained rupture of an abscess needs to be differentiated from effusion

Can we give steroids for PE associated with IE?

Steroids can rapidly plug the inflammatory pores in the from the pericardial surface.It may also prevent future constriction. Currently, routine steroid therapy is not advised in infective pathology . If the infection is confirmed and is being taken care of by antimicrobial therapy there could be a role for steroids with user discretion.

Final message

During the echocardiographic evaluation of IE, the presence of pericardial effusion should be specifically looked for. These patients should be flagged and will require monitoring as the prognosis of PE complicating IE is a concern unless proved benign.


Two studies one from Spain and other from Egypt looked into this issue specifically.




Science is a journey in pursuit of truth. Hence, we search for it again and again.  (Thus, recurrent search becomes Re-Search)

As we try to progress in our knowledge towards absolute truth,  we need to admit our errors first. I think, one such error is blinking right in front of us in the vibrant corridors of coronary care and cath labs every day!  It is about the definition with which we deal the success of primary PCI. (A supposedly revolutionary acute coronary therapeutics  this century)

Waiting for the day . . . when all those fancy primary PCIs that leave the myocardium hurt (& retire ) with significant LV dysfunction to be reclassified as clear cases of primary PCI failures.

Severe aortic stenosis will cut off the systolic BP and hence classical pulsus parvus et tardus occurs. This is what , we have been taught all along.

How for it is true?  

One thing is clear from clinical observation. Systolic BP need not be low, often its normal even in severe Aortic stenosis. The issue becomes curious when  high BP is associated with severe Aortic stenosis. This can happen by a variety of mechanisms.(Aging/Loss of Aortic elasticity /Pressure recovery/Hypertension)  I think, there have been little correlative studies of pulsus parvus with central aortic pressure.

Can Aortic stenosis be a cause for systolic Hypertension?   (This academically murky question rose after I stumbled upon this paper )

This paper from the journal of Human Hypertension which was published many decades ago.It sincerely documented high BP in spite of severe AS . The most crucial aspect of this study , however, was the fact that hypertension was completely corrected after Aortic valve replacement. The authors attributed to this high systolic BP as the transmission of LV chamber pressure. This is a frontal attack on the traditional concept of pulsus parvus and systolic decapitation in LVOT obstruction.

I am not sure, whether knowledge always breeds knowledge. Medical science is equally affected by new-onset Ignorance or not recognizing past knowledge.( Like this paper of 1996.) I think this study is done with a good scientific basis and unable to find any serious flaws. Hats of to the authors. This could lead to a further breakthrough in our understanding of transvalvular gradients in Aortic stenosis and the poorly understood vascular- valvular Interactions. With, catheter-based TAVRs become so common, we can exactly measure the pressure dynamics in the Aortic root pre and post valve replacement. (* My take is , systolic BP in severe Aortic stenosis  is preserved until the onset of LV dysfunction)


Catheter based interventions in TOF  has caught the imagination of  Interventional cardiologists.decades ago. (Quereshi reported first in 1988 Royal Liverpool hospital ) .Somehow it could not develop into a full-fledged modality. The key issue in TOF  is,  RVOT obstruction is infundibular with some degree of valvular involvement. While the valvular component is amenable for easy correction by balloon, the infundibular stenosis requires some form of cutting or splitting. Embryologically,  the malalignment of IVS is the primary mechanism of obstruction. The balloon catheter is will find it difficult to tackle the alignment defect. .Obviously, surgeons can do a comprehensive RVOT reconstruction.

Things are beginning to change. Cutting balloons are available. Various dedicated VSD devices are being developed. Closure of large sub-aortic VSD  followed by  RVOT dilatation appears challenging task but distinctly possible in the near future.

Few cases of palliative RVOT dilatation with a balloon  in critical TOF  is been attempted We hope, in the coming decades at least simple forms of TOF are conquered by the interventional cardiologists!

Hardware: A small profile  coronary  cutting balloon  from Boston scientific .

What is in store for the future ?

3D printing of live heart and designer device or deployable patches for the malaligned VSD is possible. Currently, intracardiac ultrasound would assist the procedure.

RVOT reconstruction with RVOT stenting and percutaneous valves (Melody or Right sided TAVR equivalents) is already been done in post-ICR residual obstructions or late RVOT failure

Coronary cutting balloon flextome tof pulmonary valvuloplasty coronary hard ware

Flextome -Coronary cutting balloon

Balloon pulmonary valvotomy for tof tetrology of fallot

balloon angioplasty for TOF cutting balloon

pulmonary valvotomy in tof tetrology

pulmonary valvotomy in tof tetrology 3

 Other References

1.Boucek MM, Webster HE, Orsmond GS, Ruttenberg HD. Balloon pulmonary valvotomy: palliation for cyanotic heart disease. Am Heart J. 1988;115:318-322.

2.Qureschi SA, Kirk CR, Lamb RK, Arnold R, Wilkinson JL. Balloon dilatation of the pulmonary valve in the first year of life in patients with tetralogy of Fallot: a preliminary study. Br Heart J. 1988; 60:232-235.

 3.Parsons JM, Ladusans EJ, Qureshi SA. Growth of the pulmonary artery after neonatal balloon dilatation of the right ventricular outflow tract in an infant with tetralogy of Fallot and atrioventricular septal defect. Br Heart J. 1989;62:65-68.

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