Coronary collateral circulation is probably the most poorly understood circulation than any other.This is ignorance at it’s best , in spite of the life saving potential of this circulation. A popular (mis )perception is coronary collaterals can support only resting blood flow and it would struggle to compensate at times of exertion. This is based on few case studies and not based on large , authentic scientific data.
Does this reasoning mean , coronary collaterals can never / ever be complete ?
If we believe so . . .we are grossly underestimating the power of nature .(In fact , mankind was humiliated by the nature time and again !)
Lessons from a unique patient we have encountered.
Here is an example of total LAD/LCX occlusion with good collateral from RCA. He was having stable angina on medical management . This patient was not only asymptomatic and was also negative for exercise stress test at moderate work load .
There was an intense debate about the management when this angiogram was presented in the cath meeting .
- Most of the cardiologists believed so ! But they had no answers why his stress test was negative.
- The other argument for CABG was one can not allow a patient with a functionally single coronary artery (RCA) However good is the collateral circulation.This at least has some logic. not the first one !
- One more suggestion was to quantitate and map the real extent of ischemia by PET scanning and then decide about revascularisation.
- One critical opinion was , since he was doing well with medical management what was the need to do coronary angiogram at all ?
Any answers . . .
He ultimately went on to receive CABG (By popular opinion ) , but the point here is the collaterals were good enough to support exertion.We have documented quiet a few similar patients with collateral circulation supporting exercise.
What happened to the collaterals and (of course ) the patient after surgery ?
I will post you the curious story soon . . .
Coronary collateral circulation , if well developed can provide hemo-dynamically useful support even at times of exertion *
* The existing literature is biased against this concept. It generalizes all grades of collaterals into a single entity. It is better if we spend more time to understand the nuances of coronary collateral circulation .
This is the message from our observation. Do not ever believe whatever is published as facts in scientific literature. Observe, analyse , create your own inference , and concepts. Mainstream cardiologists would brand it unscientific , Simply ignore it . Many times it is rewarding to our patients.