Archive for the ‘cardiology -Therapeutics’ Category

Critical multivessel CAD is commonly confronted by cardiologists .These patients either receive multivessel stenting, CABG, with or without optimal medical management(OMT) !

CABG is always done with intention of  complete revasularisation  for all significant lesions. Comprehensive  multivessel PCI though feasible is not practiced widely.Considering the diffuse nature of CAD no treatment is complete except probably intensive medical management.

As of now , addressing only one (or two ) critical lesions in a triple vessel disease by PCI though appear attractive and logical is considered unscientific.Guidelines are not clear in answering the issue.


In a triple vessel disease with a critical LAD lesion,  

Shall we do PCI for LAD and medical management for lesions in RCA or LCX  ?

How about this coronary wisdom  “While medical therapy can take care of less tighter lesions , only critical lesions need catheter based Intervention”

In fact, in STEMI setting we do apply this logic of  targeting one lesion (IRA) at a time. Why not in chronic coronary setting ? There are significant  pros and cons for this approach.While, most 0f us will go with the logical herd,an unique  paper by Mineok  asks us to think again(American Heart Journal, 2016-09-01, 157-165)

How do you define the completeness of revascularization? Is it not emprical ?

We know medical management has well documented advantages in chronic CAD. while multivessel stenting has its own hazards.Hence limiting the time spent within the coronary artery and reducing total stent length should be one of our important goals.

A mini quiz  . . .

How often you have left a fairly significant lesion (attending only the critical lesions )  in your practice ?

What do you think will happen to those non critical lesions  in the long run  ?

Do you believe earnestly drugs can take care of these lesions ?

Forget the science . Whats your experience and  gut feeling ? 

Do you agree , even surgeons do not always do a complete revascularisation either intentionally or for technical reasons ?

Finally ,why we are still  hesitant to call intensive medical therapy as a  “Revascularisation  equivalent”  inspite of valid proof for improved functional class, symptom relief , regression of atherosclerois , collateral preservation and improved microcirculaion.

Final message 

I would say , the science of coronary revascularisation in chronic CAD is stranded at a confused cross road even after three decades of aggressively grown interventional cardiology .At any given point of time medical  management can give a tough fight to catheter  based intervention in most stable IHD.

Hybrid therapy doesn’t always mean combination of PCI and CABG. Judicious mix of PCI and medical therapy is also  a hybrid modality that can bring CAD burden effectively in a meaningful fashion with less metal load.   If you can convert a critical triple vessel disease to non critical DVD or SVD with a single stent it should be welcomed without prejudice. 

With a section of cardiac scientists are in hot pursuit for a completely  bi0reabsorbable stents , let us adopt this “Minimalistic PCI approach” in multivessel CAD, till the time  we reach the “dream the end point” of modern coronary care , ie to  get rid of stent altogether by biological cure for atherosclerosis.


1.Mineok chang, Jung MinAhn, Nayoung  complete versus incomplete revascularization in patients with multivessel coronary artery disease treated with drug-eluting stents Kim,American Heart Journal, 2016-09-01, 157-165,

 2.Tamburino C, Angiolillo DJ, Capranzano P, et al: Complete versus incomplete revascularization in patients with multivessel disease undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention with drug-eluting stents. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2008; 72: pp. 448-456

3.Wu C, Dyer AM, King SB, et al: Impact of incomplete revascularization on long-term mortality after coronary stenting. Circ Cardiovasc Interv 2011; 4: pp. 413-421

4.Gao Z, Xu B, Yang YJ, et al: Long-term outcomes of complete versus incomplete revascularization after drug-eluting stent implantation in patients with multivessel coronary disease. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2013; 82: pp. 343-349

5.Ong ATL,Serruys PW. Complete revascularization: coronary artery bypass graft surgery versus percutaneous coronary intervention. Circulation. 2006; 114: 249255

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Less than a century ago an easy chair  was enough to manage this most important medical emergency of mankind. Of course, at that time mortality of STEMI was estimated to be around 30%.We have since pushed the in-hospital death rate down to less than 10 %  and its around 5-8% currently.(*The lifeless chairs were able to save 70 lives is a different story!)

Heparin , thrombolytic agents, critical coronary care has helped us to achieve this , of course It must be admitted primary PCI also played a small role (at best 1 % ) in our fight against this number one killer.

Now, why not combine  both lysis and PCI ?

The concept of PIA (Pharmaco Invasive approach) came into vogue  primarily for two reasons.

1.If thrombolysis and  pPCI are powerful strategies by individual merits why not combine both and achieve double the benefit ?

2. Since pPCI is going to be a logistical nightmare in most points of care and we can’t afford to lose time . So, let us lyse first and consider PCI later !

Unfortunately medical science is not math .One plus one in medicine is rarely two !

Though , it looks attractive , Pharmaco invasive approach  has its own troubles.Fortunately , most of them are man-made, few are beyond our knowledge though.

Following general rules  may help us

  • STEMI  should ideally managed by early thrombolysis (or PCI) in all deserving patients.
  • Don’t wait for PCI if you think , there will be delay or reduced expertise and poor track record of the center in this modality.
  • Pharmaco invasive  therapy is not a default in all STEMI .Do good quality , monitored  lysis , (Not necessarily new generation thrombolytic .(I prefer one hour sustained thrombolytic regimen , not the hit or miss bolus) .As a learned cardiologist we need to assess individual patients according to the type and risk of MI.Its not wise to blindly follow the guidelines ,because these guidelines , though based on evidence never answers a query in a single patient perspective !

The key “branch points”  in decision making  after lysis

  • Invasive strategy  should begin within one hour if the patient has failed  thrombolysis and has developed any mechanical issues.( Mind you, LVF requires good medical stabilization .Rushing  such patients to cath lab without application of mind can be disastrous )
  • If the Initial  lysis is excellent and the patient is asymptomatic  one need not proceed with invasive limb at all.(A significant chunk of apparently failed lysis by ECG are asymptomatic and comfortable , these are patients require delicate assessment regarding further intervention. )
  • If the MI is large and the clinical  stability is “not confirmed” one may  proceed urgently within 24 h.
  • In any case there is no role for invasive approach after 24 hours* Unless fresh ischemia  suspected to come from IRA or  non IRA.
  • Having  said that, there are many centers that do a diagnostic  angiogram alone just prior to discharge  (48-72h) for risk stratification and then take a genuine call for a possible PCI or  CABG. In my opinion it appears a sensible strategy , though a non invasive stress  test pre/post discharge can even avoid that  coronary angiogram !

One issue with Rescue PIA

Though by current definition  PIA is to be done  3-24 hours , don’t wait for the 4th hour if you have recognized a failed thrombolysis earlier than three hours.( Ofcourse , as the gap between P and I gets too narrowed it may  carry some adverse  effects witnessed in routine facilitated PCI -Refer FINESSE study ) Similarly,there need not be a blanket ban on PCI beyond 24 hours if residual ischemia is active.

Final message

PIA is a dynamic  coronary  re -perfusion strategy . Nothing is fixed in science. . The optimal gap between Pharmaco and invasive strategy  can be anywhere between  1 hour to “Infinitely deferred” depending upon individual risk perception and wisdom of the treating cardiologist.





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One of my fellows gave a discharge summary  for a 62 year old patient with stable diabetic  CAD  who had Triple vessel disease with a final advice reading as CABG / PCI/or OMT .

There was a near fury over his angiogram report in the cath meet. How can be  eligible for all the three Intervention at the same time ?.(PCI -Percutaneous coroanry Inervention ,CABG-Coroanry artery by-pass graft, OMT-Optimal medical therapy )

The lesion in question was , Triple vessel disease(Non critical LAD) and significant LCX and again a non critical RCA .Syntax was less than 22 for sure , however the patient  had class 2 angina (now reducing ) .When asked to explain  , the fellow  argued since the patient  is symptomatic , has DM with TVD  he is eligible for CABG , since  LCX lesion was discrete and PCI was distinctly possible , of course as all three  lesions would be  eligible for OMT on any given day  ! he inferred .

How can  a cardiologist be so casual and non-commital in an important medical decision where a life of a heart is at stake.There was a unanimous condemnation about the report. As a consultant he has to be specific , one can’t leave the decision to  your patient’s whims  . . . rather it’s our scientific whims  that should prevail  !



The curiosity continued and looked amusing for many. I was the only one supporting  his argument ! After all , he is being frank and understood the futility of  applying  evolving knowledge base in critical decision making. But, I  asked him to grade the choices .In my opinion  OMT should be the first choice if it can be administered , but reality tells me  true OMT is rare as a modality  at-least in  this  part of world . However every one should insist for it.

Apart from poor  compliance for OMT , pressure  mounts for a procedure from peers and non peers . I am  sure  many  patients  will end up with an  invasive modality sooner or later  backed by a  second or  third opinion  driven by that elusive googled intellect !

Final message

When clinical decision making is debatable with available knowledge (Especially with futile and evolving knowledge base !) , please include your patient into the debate and you may even consider giving him the veto power.If Hippocrates is alive today , I am sure he will argue for medical  knowledge and ignorance should be equally shared with their  patients.

Counter thoughts

Don’t give the choice to your patient  . . . that would mean you lack  clarity, wisdom and confidence !

No, I don’t agree , I know there are  some  patients who are  well informed , rational , more focused than even a professional  !



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Dengue is a global infectious disease caused by Flavivirus  (RNA) transmitted by day biting mosquitoes Ades aegypti .It is primarily a tropical or sub tropical disease , India is marked  among the epicentre . 75% of dengue infections  are asymptomatic. Among  the remaining 25 % only 5 % develop severe dengue and a fraction of them go for a dreaded  circulatory and bleeding complication leading to a likely fatality.Severe hypotension is the hall-mark in dengue shock .

The mechanism of shock

The sine-qua non of dengue shock is the  capillary leak syndrome .This is due to some unknown vascular toxins acting in micro circulatory network making it exude fluid .This is something similar to septic shock where mal-distriubution of fluids in the extravascular  or third  spaces occur . This is also referred to as  re-distributive or vasodilatory shock due to lack of effective circulatory volume. Significant serous cavity effusions  (Both pleural effusion and ascites )  contribute to the shock syndrome .  Meanwhile there can be accompanying  fluid loss due to vomiting as well  .Adding further complexity ,direct cardiac involvement in few in the form of myocarditis can cause lung congestion and confusing the true mechanism of shock .This has important  hemodynamic implication as overzealous fluid therapy without recognising a possible myocarditis can be counter productive.Few sick patients will drag the lung into the vicious cycle ending up with ARDS , refractory hypoxia and worsening shock.

*To reemphasize , even though there are  multiple components  for dengue shock , the capillary leak  is the dominant theme .

Timing of shock

The onset of shock peaks after 24-48 hours of fever .It may  even be delayed well after subsidence of fever (Deffervescence phase )

Differential effect on diastolic and systole pressure

Dengue primarily drops the systolic  pressure  due to hypovolemia .The diastolic BP may be kept artificially high due the heightened adrenergic tone .This is ironical , as even the fluid  is sequestrated into dead  space patient may appear stable but it can fall dramatically without any warning once the sympathetic reserve is exhausted .This is the hallmark of dengue circulatory  shock .

*Note : Dengue shock typically  narrows the pulse pressure, that’s responsible for the feeble thready pulse.This is in contrast to septic shock* where the PVR is low, pulse pressure is either normal or even apparently high.(* Not all situations)

Clue from hematocit regarding the status of shock

Initially the heamtocrit  tends to increase  (hemo-concentration )  as fluid extravasates . Later it strikes a balance as we attempt to replenish with fluids. During recovery as fluids reenter vascular compartment or due to sustained fluid therapy the hemo-dilution can occur and heamtocrit  may fall.

How  common is  myocarditis  in  dengue fever ?

Fortunately ,dengue fever rarely affects the heart directly  .(Of course, shock can be a killer even without involving the heart) Myocardits due to dengue virus  is randomly reported in literature (Ref 3,4). My guess is , the true incidence should be far  higher as most of the dengue cases are from countries where publications are rare ! Bed side echo will reveal a minimally dilated Left ventricle with global hypokinesia  and moderate to severe LV dysfunction. No need to prove myocarditis  by virology ,biopsy etc. ( (New onset LV dysfunction with S3 , tachycardia is suffice) .Treatment is only supportive and Inotropic  agents may be helpful. Recovery in LV function is usually complete in those who survive.

Acute pulmonary edema though expected with LV dysfunction , overzealous fluid therapy can be a trigger for this complication . Involvement  of  conduction system is  another evidence for myocardial pathology. AV block  (J Clin Diagn Res. 2015 May; 9(5)  and Atrial fibrillation have been described in association with dengue.


  • Anticipation and prevention of onset of  shock syndrome is  the key .
  • Careful monitoring of child is required.
  • Altered mentation is vital clue
  • Continuous fluid resuscitation is the only proven treatment .
  • Platelet infusion is required in clinical bleeding generally <10000)

Steroids, Immuno-suppression ,globulin have limited or no value  even in fulminant dengue fever .

Post-ample : Role of cardiologist in dengue shock .

Once , recently  I was called to see a child  with  refractory dengue shock .It turned out to be a helpless consult for the parents who had great faith in me .They believed  as a  modern day cardiologist ( circulatory specialist ?) with sophisticated devices I will be able revive the vascular system .I regretted ,there is nothing specific can be done ,the entire circulatory system is leaking and had lost its tone ,we have to wait ,watch and pray .

I realised on that day , how these tiny mosquitoes can expose us  . . . the  much hyped cardio vascular specialist’s  skills who live a celebrity life,hopping between cath labs , still unable to deliver at a critical time of need !

Reference :

1.Capillary leak syndrome in dengue fever.New Delhi: WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia and Manila: WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific.Dec-2011


dengue myocarditis

3.Kabra SK, Juneja R, Madhulika, Myocardiald ysfunction in children with dengue haemorrhagic fever.Natl Med J India.1998Mar-Apr; 11(2): 59-61
4.Wali JP, Biswas A, Chandra S,  Cardiac involvement in Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever.Int J Cardiol.1998 Mar 13; 64(1): 31-6.

5.Horta Veloso H, Ferreira Júnior JA, . Acute atrial fibrillation during dengue hemorrhagic fever.Braz J Infect Dis.2003 Dec; 7(6): 418-22

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When a culprit thrombus keep the  myocardium as hostage . . . don’t storm the coronary artery  indiscriminately   !

When a single gun men  keeps 100 innocent people as hostages , threatening their  lives, rescue mission should start .No can can afford to wait. But, without knowing  the  culprit’s true nature the process of rescue mission is always going to be tricky .There are so many instances Newton’s third law  was reversed , when reactions  evoke more chaos  than the index action.

In the recent world terrorist events ,  the  rescue missions  were so delicate and  it was very  unfortunate we  lost  many   innocent hostages !  The reasoning is ,there  is no way we can avoid these. I wonder is it really true ? !

rescue missionNot all culprit lesions  are true ones.They simply threaten  our myocardium with  thrombus and plaques  in various forms .Don’t show aggression to pseudo threats  you may  ultimately end up with more damage.(What I call as crazy culprits!)

(  Read here , why unstable angina even though thrombus is sitting right inside the coronary artery attempting to lyse it causes more  damage !)

After thought

Iam sure ,bulk of  the Interventionists wouldn’t agree with this thought . They would decry , watching a person  silently when the myocardium  is on  fire is a serious crime !

But . . . we  need to  remember the process of extinguishing  the fire  with some more fire arms is a delicate game played in undefined  philosophical turf.

The only way to introspect  such events in life is , to accept any eventuality    arising out of “not pursuing”  a  presumed rescue mission with vigor. No need to be guilty about that,after all , it can be a myth !

Modern human cognition , growing with a staple  scientific  feed  on a 24/7  basis  is  unlikely to realise , restraint can be an effective tool  even in critical moments !

Oh,is all that I have  scribbled so far  is just a repetition  of 1000 year concept of  “Primum non nocere”

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Every one talks about  coronary excesses ! It happens  both  in acute and chronic  fashion , not withstanding the inappropriately  understood  . . .   appropriately  released  guidelines  on inappropriateness ! The  burden  of coronary syndromes of the humanity, I am afraid would  include these man made excess as well !

I stumbled upon two  small  “gems ” in this other wise wild dark  cardiology literature  .One from Kamaer , Netherlands and other from  Escaned from Spain.

Both  talk about a  simple and logical modality in the management of STEMI . If bulk of the STEMI events are due to coronary thrombosis just tackle it  . No more  . . . no less” Stent only , if there is tight residual lesion.

1. From Amsterdam , Holland.

krammer thrombus aspiration alone priamry poba for stemi no stent

2.This one is from Spain.These studies I am sure , only a fraction of the interventional community would have read .Reason ? We are always hijacked by the moments of glamor ! I am just sharing them .hope few are benefited

primary POBA thrombus aspiration alone for stemi no stent stemithrombus aspiration alone for stemi no stent priamry pobaThese two studies with total number of 44 patients has a potential to redefine  the entire practice pattern of acute interventional coronary care.(Of course , if only , we are ready to make sense out of it !)

But , the concept will be heavily banished by strong visible and invisible forces   for the simple reason it suggests a true possibility  of knocking  out the role of  stent from acute STEMI arena.

When I discussed with my colleagues  for a large scale study  on isolated thrombus aspiration in STEMI , they told it  is not possible for ethical reasons !

I was amused , denying such a study is biggest ethical blow to the field interventional  cardiology !

Final message

Proof of concept does not require numbers .A study with less than 50 subjects  can be far superior than multi-centre ,multi-blinded , self steered ,peer reviewed largesse ! The truth of the study lies in the core consciousness  of people who do it , not in the numbers and exotic statistical methods !.

After all , one of the greatest medical study  was  done by James Lind  (Father of RCT) who discovered vitamin c as an antidote for scurvy,  with a hand full of sailors  while they crossed the Atlantic many centuries ago !

After thought

You say , thrombus aspiration is great , Why the hell , TAPAS , INFUSE AMI, and TASTE studies  confuse us regarding thrombus aspiration  ?

Don’t blame it on thrombus aspiration .We do it perfectly . It is because of what  we do after that ! We decorate the coronary lumen finally with a piece of metal cherry  undoing all the goodness of a great pudding !

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Your clock starts  now !


clock gif  dr s venkatesan002

Chronic stable angina : Most can be effectively managed  by  optimal /intensive medicines and life style Interventions .About 10% will require PCI/CABG.

ACS – STEMI:  Primarily  managed  with  rapid and competent  pre-hospital care with prompt thrombolysis in or out of hospital .Patients  with  large STEMI who develop complications (Again about 10 %)   require PCI and few additional  lives can be saved.

ACS-NSTEMI : This is  the group that demand  an  important role for PCI . All true high risk UA/NSTEMI patients  should receive urgent coronary  angiogram and critical lesions  should either be stented or  sent for CABG  (If the lesions are multiple and complex ) The field of interventional  cardiology  is  expected  to play a major  role in  this category of  patients for the simple reason , we  not only give dramatic  relief from angina and also prevent a  potentially a huge MI that is waiting to happen !

* It is vital to emphasise  the “Aim and  objective” in  NSTEMI  management  is critically different from other two. We know ,  in CSA   the aim is to give relief  symptoms  and improve excercise capacity . Both PCI/CABG  are  unlikely  to prevent a future MI in CSA..In STEMI it has already occurred .The aim is to salvage myocardium  and prevent  future events. While PCI can do the former , it can’t do the later . In STEMI scenerio ,we have very good  alternate  modality called thrombolysis which can easily beat the  pPCI  in , cost , availability and time  (and  hence efficiency as well  in  most  countries !)

Counter thought

The above suggestion  is too simplified ,generalized , misleading , and  unscientific, should   strongly be disagreed. For those people who disagree , I provide an alternate scheme  .It is ultra short ,comes in  5 lines .Very practical  and  scientific too  !

In any  patient , who is  suspected to have either  acute or chronic  coronary syndromes ,take them to the cath lab in an  urgent or semi urgent fashion .Do an angiogram and stent all lesions  that you feel important . If  stenting is not possible  manage  with optimal medicines and /or send them to the surgeons.

Final message

The essence of catheter based coronary care is simple.We complicate it. To understand this concept  100’s of cardiology  journals  and as many conferences and infinite  number of books are churned out every year !





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