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Archive for the ‘Infrequently asked questions in cardiology (iFAQs)’ Category

In this era of synthesized evidence base,  one of my  intellectually aberrant  student asked  How can we indulge in  a popular coronary procedure   with  class 1 indication backed by level C evidence  ?   (As defined by  the seemingly invincible  guideline committee  of various  International cardiology organizations .)

medical ethics silence guidelines

I told him ,

  • Institutional protocols are to be followed
  • Guidelines are to be respected
  • Recommendations are to be considered
  • Please be reminded  all of the  above can be rejected  outright !

Finally , realise  Individual  decisions based on sound scientific understanding with zero non academic intrusions  will be revered forever !

*Caution : If you  think  you haven’t  yet reached that the level of  individuality , come what may ,  you are  expected follow these  advisories  which are primarily aimed at  providing quality care and  you will be pardoned of any adversaries as well  !

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The gradient across coarctation  is not  simply (& solely ) determined by degree of obstruction , as one would believe.Understanding the hemodynamics and various factors that can influence the gradient is essential Relieving the  obstruction /gradient by stent or surgery  may not be synonymous with successful treatment as we understand now the entire aorta right from the root to abdomen can influence the gradient ,along with systemic factors.We also know , some of these patients harbor histological abnormalities in the entire stretch of  Aorta , what is  being  referred to as pan aortopathy  , that may influence the long-term outcome.

coarctation gradient collaterals002

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Originally used in early 1990s,  self expanding coronary stents (Wall stent from Boston scientific )  subsequently lost interest because of delivery related issues. Many feel , it makes cardiologist judgment tentative and delivery system prevail over our hand skills. It is possible stents can longitudinally jump with high radial force making a geographical miss more likely.While it could be true with any technique till we master it, one should recall ,most endo-vascular work other than coronary still involve self expandable techniques.

Balloon expandable  stent is ruling the PCI field  for more than 2 decades. There has been recent surge of interest in the self expanding  technique and it could make a great difference in the PCI arena provided we take the proper cues.

Self expanding stents have some unique advantage

  • It has  high radial force.
  • Approximation with lesion is best
  • It tends to take the shape of the vessel than any other stent
  • Since the mal-opposition and gap between stent and vessel wall is minimal stent thrombosis is theoretically is  lower.

Where is self expanding stent useful ?

  • Ectatic and very irregular lesions
  • Bifurcation lesions where multi dimensional vessels with different shaped ostia converge.
  • Eccentric lesions (Non calcified) may be benefited by self expanding stents
  • Self expanding covered self (Is it available >)  may be the best bet for perforations and for thrombus  to be plastied against the wall.
  • In some small vessels PCI
  • Finally it may have a  role in primary PCI (APPOSITION 1 to 5 )

What are the self expanding stents available ?

  1.  Devax system   ( 2003)
  2.  Stentys
  3.  Radius (Boston scientific)
  4. Capella Sideguard.
  5. Cardiomind Sparrow
  6. vProtect luminal shield.

Final message

For some reason , self expanding stents were not tested widely  and  large scale data is not available. However ,  they are unique modalities in metal delivery and must be mastered and many patient subsets will be benefited by it. They are not obsolete yet, APPOSITION 5 study will answer some of the issues.

Reference

1. Agostoni P, Verheye S. Novel self-expanding stent system for enhanced provisional bifurcation stenting: examination by StentBoost and intravascular ultrasound. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2009;73:481
2.Jsselmuiden A, Verheye S. First report on the use of a novel self-expandable stent for treatment of ST elevation myocardial infarction. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2009;74:850
3.Verheye S1, Grube E, Ramcharitar S, Schofer JJ,.First-in-man (FIM) study of the Stentys bifurcation stent–30 days results.

EuroIntervention. 2009 Mar;4(5):566-71
4. van Geuns  R.-J., Tamburino  C., Fajadet  J.,  Self-expanding versus balloon-expandable stents in acute myocardial infarction: results from the APPOSITION II study: Self-expanding stents in ST-segment elevatation myocardial infarctiion. J Am Coll Cardiol Intv. 2012;5:1209-1219.

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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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Inserting an ICD  for  DCM  may a be great therapeutic success  for the physician  as well as the patient . But there is one big truth hidden behind the statistical screen.

Following  study  provides dramatic data from Maanhiem in Germany in about 561 patients who had ICD .The long term patient outcome after appropriate shocks were much worse  than those without    shocks .This was more pronounced in Ischemic DCM .

appropriate and inappropriate shocks ICD

Source : Streitner et al ,University Medical Centre Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany PLoS One. 2013 May 10;8(5):e6391

The fact that these patients continue to throw VT , some thing is wrong in the cellular  milieu or a fresh scar / fibrosis / ischemia is progressing .Further , the VTs and the  subsequent  shocks  set in temporary  hemodynamic instability .We have evidence , EF can be depressed for days  worsening the long-term out come.

While it is easy  to blame it on natural course of DCM , there are  solid reasons to believe  , shock induced myocardial damage is definitely contributing to this  excess mortality.

One important  clinical tip is to screen  all  these so called Idiopathic DCM  patients  who  had appropriate shocks.  They should be monitored for fresh signs of any systemic illness  , like a  connective tissue disorder , chronic granulomatous lesions  like sarcoid etc .To our surprise  some specific  myocardial disease may unmask themselves in the natural history. Identifying them may offer a dramatic cure .

Final message

Some where along our EP mind-set  we are conditioned to think  , as along as there is an ICD in situ and it appropriately  shocks, every thing is bliss ! Blame it  on semantics . The  word “appropriate”  inappropriately  soothes  our nerves.

The fact of the mater is , every appropriate shock is a  grim reminder  that the heart  in question  is restless electrically and VT continue to emanate  from diseased  myocardium  . It could  mean either the LV   is destabilising  , or the original  disease  is   progressing  or a new disease  is evolving .

Mean while, paradoxically , inappropriate shocks give us a quixotic comfort , since the  heart is not really  throwing any dangerous arrhythmia, after all it is  the device related  false alarm   that  could be easily  reprogrammed!

Reference

ICD appropriate and inappropriate shocks

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Reperfusion arrhythmia was described originally  in the thrombolytic era .

It can be any of the the following .

  • AIVR(Accelerated Idio Ventricular rhythm)
  • Sinus bradycardia (In Infero posterior MI )
  •  VF can occur as  Re-perfusion  arrhythmia.

Does these arrhythmia occur following primary PCI ?

It should  isn’t ? 

In fact it  must be  more pronounced  as we  believe PCI is far superior modality for reperfusion !

Busy Interventional  cardiologists  of the current era  either do not  look for it or fail to document it . These arrhythmias occurs only  with early Primary PCI (Say less than 2-3 hours) .If re-perfusion arrhythmias are  really less common with primary PCI , are we missing some thing ?

 

 

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Fractional flow reserve(FFR) is an  Intra coronary hemodynamic  parameter  promoted recently to assess the physiological impact of a coronary lesion . Though it sounds logically attractive the concept  is sailing in rough seas  .I am afraid FFR is drowning  a fairly useful tool of IVUS  along with it  !

Read this large study on FFR (JAMA June 2014) .It seems to suggest  FFR is a costly and unnecessary accessory in cath lab

Image

Critical thoughts on FFR

It adds time , money , and procedural risk*  to any given patient .The only possible use is to reduce the proliferating stent usage !But the  irony  is complete as we do our daily business in  modern cath suits .To negate  one indulgence we need to  need to indulge  in  another ! (Junk begets Junk !)

It reflects lack of courage on the part of cardiologists to advice medical management even in obvious low risk lesions !

It is unfortunate ,we need a scientific or  a pseudo scientific tool to lift up our sagging medical intellect !

 

* crossing  delicate and often complex lesions  without any major purpose is bad wisdom !
(more…)

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