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Archive for the ‘Thrombolysis -Tips’ Category

Why didn’t you do it … for this patient?

 “I thought, he was not the right patient for the procedure. I believe, what I did was the correct decision. Why all this fuzz? after all, the patient is doing so well without that procedure,.. are you worried about that? 

“No, I need an explanation, we have a fully functional cath lab in our center. The patient came in the right window period. Still, you haven’t offered the best mode of treatment”.

“I can reiterate it again sir. Just because a lab is available 24/7, it doesn’t make all patients eligible for a  PCI. I think I didn’t commit a professional misdemeanor when I decided in favor of fibrinolysis. In fact, I would be guilty had I rushed him to the cath lab, just to satisfy the misplaced scientific position we have decided to adopt. If you think, I am culpable for successfully treating a patient without taking the patient to the cath lab, you may proceed with the penal action.

Before that, I would request you to please read the current edition of this book we all revere. (Which continues to mentor physicians all over the globe for the past 50 years)

 

The current edition of Harrison 2022 is just out. I thought, there is something great learning point in Cardiology chapter, specifically about the reperfusion strategies in STEMI

My hearty thanks to the editors of the chapter for the crystal clear expression about this much-debated procedure* and specifically choosing the word “PCI appears* to be more effective ” (even) if it is done in experienced persons in dedicated centers. The choice of the word used by the authors is Intentional and must be applauded. This message must be propagated to all our fellow physicians. What a way to convey an important truth pertaining to the management of the most common cardiac emergency, while many in the elite specialty are so dogmatic in their assertion without verifying the reality.

*  The verdict is still under the jury even after 3 decades, since the PAMI days of the early 1990s. Thank you, Harrison. What a gentle, but righteous way to express an opinion about a procedure that is apparently enjoying a larger-than-life image based on a handful of studies and a flawed meta-analysis.

Final message 

Primary PCI is just an alternate form of treatment to fibrinolysis in STEMI. Both are equipoise in the majority of patients. Extreme care and diligence are required to harvest the small benefit the PCI seems to provide.  There are lots of ” if and buts” that decide the success of this procedure. Get trained, and do it selectively for those who really need it.

Postamble

You may call yourself a super-specialist. But, please realize, If you have any doubt about key management strategies, never feel shy to take a cue from Internal medicine books. The greatness of these warrior books is that, it comes devoid of all those scientific clutters backed by premature evidence. 

 

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It was 1912 , Titanic had just sank off the Atlantic . When the world attention was elsewhere , An unassuming young Dr.Herrick J.B silently working in his Michigan lab inquisitively proposed thrombus occluding the coronary artery is the chief culprit in acute myocardial Infarction.It took seven more decades when Davis et all from Glasgow .UK. proved it by doing dramatic angiographic studies soon after STEMI in year 1979.

Now, even after 100 years , we, the confused cardiologists debate endlessly in glamorous global conclaves in exotic locales whether to aspirate these humble looking thrombus, threatening to damage the myocardium with every passing moment !

Why is this controversy ?

My answer

I am failing to understand the concept and the answer is elusive .While every one agrees that thrombus is true culprit, in bulk of the STEMI , still we are not authorised (In an assertive fashion ) either to lyse as first choice or to aspirate as second choice.

It seems vital, thrombus must be tackled vigorously by any means. Drugs,lytics,(Intravenous or Intra-coronary.) by micro and rheolytic catheters .Only documented, flow limiting complex mechanical lesions must be stented. If we are convinced tackling thrombus by mechanical means is problematic (As studies would suggest ) lysis should prevail over aspiration as a routine measure by default isn’t ?

*It’s a been quite a while , the world cardiology community has made it appear thrombolysing a patient who is otherwise eligible for primary PCI ! a “coronary crime*” Ofcourse , I must say , I proudly commit that crime with rewarding results in many MI patients.

*In fact , I would think not promoting or delaying prompt lysis should qualify for the definition.

In the management of STEMI, prehospital lysis followed by a Intensive care in a good coronary care center is best modality.

This doesn’t mean in-hospital lysis is banished. Yes, STEMI is a cardiac emergency , but triaging STEMI patients must be done by scientific means (STEMI risk score) as well with accumulated wisdom .Rush only true emergencies into cath lab. (A best estimate is about 20 % of all STEMI) If we are not able to decide which STEMI will require prompt PCI , it would Imply we need to go back and do once more the basics postings in coronary care of resident days !

An angry counter from a young Interventionist

Only God can tell whether a given patient with STEMI will (or will not) derive maximum benefit from pPCI. We are not yet trained to make that decision by looking at patient and his ECG.So my logic is all STEMIs are equal. I will continue to do emergency angioplasty in all STEMI patients . I expect them blindly to accept all the potential complications arising out of poking the thrombotic milieu in those low risk patients who might have done well with thrombolysis.

Never afraid of challenges. It is like going to war. Casualties are bound to happen.We have enough technology , Imaging , expertise, to tackle all those complex lesions we encounter during primary PCI especially in elderly comorbid patients. We can even do a triple vessel angioplasty , left main etc. Only Yesterday I posted in my nonstop whatsapp group , where I did a dramatic acute angled bifurcation angioplasty for a stable STEMI patient that required a iFR guided jailed side branch assessment and 3d OCT transmitting stunning snaps of fresh thrombus, ending with a semi culotte procedure.The patient is doing well with a Impella 2.5 device and a high frequency ventilator support and my anesthetist has promised me to wean him soon ! I must actually thank his Glo-Health plus Insurance company for clearing the procedure.

An Important tip for complex lesions during STEMI

We need to know there is always a saving grace , if for some reason we couldn’t accomplish PCI due to complexities of the lesion with multiple IRA mimickers. We can always sheepishly thrombolyse these patients inside cath lab . . . a modality just few minutes ago would have been ridiculed with all our vigor to convince the anxious family for a costly Invasive procedure !

Reference

3. Herrick Original paper . https://jamanetwork.com/

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This  query often  evokes  confusion  among fellows and General physicians .

              The answer is simple .Yes ,  you can.(With few conditions)

  • Thrombolysis  or PCI  is  done  with reference to  the  presence  or absence of ST elevation and chest pain.
  • If there is ongoing chest pain  and  significant new onset ST elevation  thrombolysis or PCI is indicated whether there is associated q  waves or not.

Clinical situations 

 Ischemic  q waves: Q wave can occur  with transmural ischemia which result in electrical stunning and loss of R waves . (Many of them  regenerate this R within few days after STEMI ,  indicating the q  waves can be  ischemic  in origin)

Reinfarction : Patients with  old  MI can develop fresh ST elevation  in q leads due to tachycardia and dyskinetic infarct segment .This group  of patients  should be carefully evaluated before labeling them as  re-infarction

* q RBBB in early hours of  anterior STEMI is fairly common which  may revert later. qRBBB is not a contraindication for re-perfusion .

Final  message

Presence of q waves does not  imply one should not  entertain  thrombolysis or PCI .The decision  to reperfuse  , rather  goes with  presence of  chest pain , ST elevation and  of course  within the  acceptable   time window!

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