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.

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The much published TRANSFER -AMI study  has few important queries to ponder about.It was supposed to test the role of routine PCI following  thrombolysis. In other words it compared  rescue only strategy with routine strategy.The caveat is , even among  failed thrombolysis, the   rescue strategy has not convincingly proven superior to medical management  (if the time is lapsed ) as much of the damage is done .

In essence , Acute MI is  more about time management than drug or cath lab management

  1. Why the 67 % of  standard therapy cohort underwent PCI. Technically , you are supposed to transfer for rescue only if there is a  failed thrombolysis ?That is the standard approach , if  most of the cases are any way land up in cath lab , then you are trying to compare two similar groups .
  2. Why the rate of   failed thrombolyis with TNK-TPA in both arms not disclosed ?
  3. How can a 92% of study population be in class 1 Killip still considered to be high risk group ?
  4. Why the recurrent ischemia  was very vaguely  defined and still included and clubbed with primary end point along with deaths. If only recurrent ischemia was removed from primary end point . . .this study will straight away land in a regret bin.
  5. Why there were 6 additional deaths at 30 days  in routine early  PCI group ,  What was he cause of death ? Mind you these deaths have happened in a 92 %  Killip class  one cohort . Is it  not important ? The trend looks vitally   significant .We can not afford take refuge under a false  statistical roof .
  6. How many patients died or  developed MI  because of the early PCI in-spite of having  successful thrombolysis.This again could be vital . Complications during intervention  for a failed thrombolysis may be acceptable. While ,complications , when we try to  improve upon the already  successful thrombolysis is simply not acceptable .

Will the investigators share their experience ?


Why the title of the paper says it is about “Routine angioplasty” and  the conclusion emphasizes  it is indeed   “high risk subsets ofangioplasty” (While the study itself involves a 92 %  least risk Killip class 1 ) .  Why this double dose of confusion ?  (Is it deliberate  ! Which i think is unlikely )

NEJM please take note of this  . . .

All that glitters  are  not natural glitter . . .some are made to glitter !

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