Posts Tagged ‘ira’

A patient with  extensive anterior STEMI  presented 18 hours  after onset of  chest pain . He  was  other wise stable and free from angina but had persistent ST elevation (5mm in V 1 to V 5 ). He had a  total occlusion of LAD  with TIMI zero  flow . He had a  tight PDA lesion  as well . A bed side echo revealed LV EF  of 50% . The septum was hypo-kinetic but did not appear severely dysfunctional .

So , it was decided to open up the LAD. The moment  LAD was opened he developed severe acute LVF  /   flash pulmonary edema   .  Even after a 30 minutes of  heart (Fire )  fighting  he could not be resuscitated .

What is the mechanism of death here ? Expert  STEMI interventionist  from core  labs  may answer this !

An acute ischemic MR with myocardial disruption was suggested . Why it  was triggered after opening the IRA ?

Three mechanisms were discussed

  1. Re-perfusion injury
  2. Collateral  damage
  3. Physiological  de-stabilisation of  Contra -Lateral lesion (Remote lesions )

Re-perfusion Injury ?  How relevant it is in cath lab ?

Is re-perfusion injury  electrical  ,  mechanical or  both ?

In this particular patient even though there was a total LAD occlusion , the segments supplied   by  the LAD  was partially functional and  it was contributing to LV  pump function.  The moment  a trickle of   flow was established  , some thing happened and the whatever  little mechanical function  his LV  had  was also interrupted  . The LV came to standstill and the patient died .

If re-perfusion Injury is  simply an   electrical  event   like VF ,  it can be resuscitated . If it is mechanical  outcome is bad ! This is not a new concept  . It is  part of the  once famous  concept called myocardial stunning . There are  lots of reasons   for stunning  to be a  clinically relevant phenomenon .Unfortunately   if any cardiologist talks about it in 2012 ,  he is at risk of  labeled  as old fashioned !

Collateral damage.

One more mechanism which we feel that  might have contributed to death here  is   the  “collateral damage” .(This is not cross fire !)

We know collaterals can be recruited within 12 hours in many STEMI patients . In some  it can even salvage  significant mass of  myocardium . The acute collaterals to LAD may be interrupted  during primary PCI . Once you poke the lesion the coronary  vascular  bed which had dilated  (as a response to total occlusion ) may react with inappropriate vasoconstriction . This raises the local hydrostatic pressure (Myocardial edema)  and further impede  the   incoming  micro collateral flow . This a very  critical time  for the myocardium  where antegrade and retrograde flow are kept in a fine balance .

Interference with remote lesion Hemodynamics .

Another possibility  is  the  opening the  LAD lesion some how  impact on remote lesional  flow as well (PDA  in this patient  )

Please remember ,

Even a transient hypo- tension can have  devastating effect in  the  hemo -dynamics   of  non IRA  territory  especially if it harbors a critical lesion !

Final message

Coming to the title question  , Is no – flow better than  slow- flow in late presenters of STEMI ?

Common sense dictates whenever  an artery is obstructed  just get rid of it.  When  it  comes to the heart it must be done in an urgent basis That is the essence of primary angioplasty  . . .  agreed . But in this  patient  I believe ,  the  common sense  was proved wrong !

Truths are always hidden.  The  science of  myocardial re-perfusion is a perfect example . We need to learn a lot still !

This I  call as  Para cardiology : Heart  facts without  evidence !

Counter point

One may argue this   is an  exceptional case  in STEMI  intervention. Don’t  hype   exceptions  and undermine the importance of a great concept ! Exceptions  and rules  are directly related to our  experience  we have accrued.  Exceptions are the great  knowledge substrates  and help  crack  medical  mysteries !

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Primary PCI (pPCI) is probably*  the   best modality in the management of STEMI .

( *Probably because ,    we  know “Time” ( fate !) is  still the  most crucial determinate of ultimate outcome of STEMI )

Any experienced interventional  cardiologist will be aware of the surprises  and difficulties  they encounter during primary PCI.

The pPCI  is all about  opening up the IRA rapidly and  wheel  out  the patient  from cath lab at the earliest.

But ,  ironically , an often  under- reported   issue  is the difficulty in  identifying IRA itself  !

One may wonder  , how this can happen ?

Following difficulties  can occur  in identifying IRA during  primary PCI*

(* There are some  hyper-talented  cardiologists who would never consider IRA recognition as an issue  .This article is not meant for them.)

The problems can range anything between the following   queries

  • Where is the IRA?
  • Is that the IRA?
  • No IRA ?
  • Multiple IRAs !

Angiographic encounters during  pPCI  and  IRA  trouble shooting .

  • When there is diffuse multivessel disease.
  • Thrombus vs  eccentric plaque  both  showing  intra luminal filling defect .
  • Thrombus spill over to adjacent branch or A mid LAD lesion with  stagnating thrombus extending to LCX ostium  mimicking two IRA
  • A bifurcation lesion with both LAD and LCX  ostial occlusion.
  • Multiple active looking  plaques with thrombus
  • STEMI in patients with preexisting CAD . Is it a CTO ?  ATO ? (Acute total occlusion ) A  CTO  ,which is  fed by collaterals from contralateral artery  ,  if this feeding vessel is  occluded even  partially ,  STEMI will occur in CTO territory . Here  , for rapid salvage you need to open the vessel that feeds the CTO territory.
  • Post CABG and post PCI form a special subset . Some times it is very difficult or even impossible   to label a graft as an IRA

Finally and most importantly  , when  there is no visible lesion in any of the coronary arteries   and look  near normal  !   Is that  no IRA  ?  or Wrong diagnosis of STEMI ?  Every one blinks  in cath lab . The consultant  howls the fellow to verify the ECG . Finally it may  well turn out to be an early  repolarisation  syndrome . These are wages we  often pay for the modernity !

How to approach  the situation when one is confused with  identifying the IRA ?

The good old ECG will come to  our  rescue sometimes. Realise in a multivessel CAD  , ECG is also vested with errors.

Echocardiography  rarely  gives a convincing answer to localise IRA. (Segmental overlap , preserved sub epicardial  contraction , residual ischemia all tend to confound )

Most confusions occur between LAD and  diagonal /LCX as there can be a huge overlap in the ECG territory  anterolateral segments

In a infero posterior STEMI, if  you have both  RCA  / LCX lesion and you wonder which  is the IRA  it is easy to solve by looking for RV involvement. (LCX lesions however dominant they are  . 99/100 times can not infarct the RV significantly  !)

If the lesion  is in PDA  the  issue is made simple.

Doing a primary PCI  blindly without knowing the IRA

This is  modern-day cardiology  at its scientific  low ! . Cardiologists  indulge in such  things much more commonly than one would imagine.

Probably  they would reason ,  it is safe to stent every vessel that is potentiality  an  IRA  , rather than  missing it. Though the concept of  multivessel stenting in STEMI   may help   patients with complicated MI ,  like pump failure ,  it generally increases   risk of primary PCI outcome in otherwise stable STEMI. Primary PCI procedure must be as short as possible. The other option is to do plain balloon angioplasty in less deserving vessels.

Important considerations  in the setting of complex multivessel CAD  during pPCI .

  1. Fall back on medical therapy
  2. Staged PCI
  3. Deferred or Immediate CABG
  4. Hybrid procedures like PCI  with CABG

Final message

IRA identification can  indeed be a difficult task  during primary PCI.  Sound knowledge and experience about coronary anatomy and its draining territories especially  in  the setting  of  multivessel  CAD  is essential to avoid errors.

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