Posts Tagged ‘post ptca care’

Whenever a patient is getting discharged after a PCI, the treating cardiologist often faces this situation.

So, you fixed the block in my coronary artery doctor. Thank you so much. Now, I can have a peaceful life, free from  future heart problems. “Am I right doctor”?

I wish I can answer “Yes”  to your query but I can’t for the following reasons.

I have fixed only a lesion that caused maximum obstruction. Atherosclerosis is a diffuse disease and you have minor plaques scattered across your coronary artery. These can grow at its own will. So you carry a definite risk remote from the current problem. (Don’t get frightened, read further, you have definite solutions to reduce this risk.)

How common is the progression of native vessel disease?

It varies from 10 to 40%. Mind you, the exact incidence directly depends upon the compliance of medical management, risk factor reduction, and adaptation to a new life healthy lifestyle. In effect, you (the patients) decide the incidence.

One surprise phenomenon (though unproven) might happen. Since the tightest lesion is jailed with a scaffold the minor lesion is preselected to an accelerated process of atherosclerosis if medical treatment is not properly followed.

Dr.Zellweger from the university hospital, Basel, did an extraordinary study with 400 patients, meticulous 5 years follow up with SPECT and found remote lesions accounted for 40% of future events (Basel Stent Kosten-Effektivitäts Trial [BASKET]) The other study by Glazer and concurred with this. These studies reiterate the importance of taking care of the entire coronary artery instead of focused piecemeal care by scaffolds.

Does a proximal DES protect a  distal lesion in the same artery by the drug effect?

It is a good thing to happen at least on paper. A proximal LAD with the latest generation Everolimus coated stent is expected to keep the distal LAD drugged for few months at leas.( with anti-mitotic activity) Thus preventing the progression of distal lesions.

No, I can’t believe this.In this era of momentary touch on sidewalls of artery by drug-eluting balloon (DEB) shown to do wonders, anything is feasible. Chacko’s (Ref 2 : JACC CV Interventions 2009)observation has a possible answer for this. It showed BMS vs DES didn’t make any difference in remote lesion progression.

Final message 

These studies reaffirm one vital truth. Stents are temporary solutions to a permanent, systemic disease of the vascular system .Stents are indeed a major revolution in CAD, “if and only if” it’s used in a highly selected CAD population. Global attempts to project cath labs as a tool to control human atherosclerosis is a typical example of flawed science. The only effective way to tackle this menace is to faithfully follow overall healthy living,  assisted by drugs.

This is the Editorial in response to Zellweger’s article



1.Glaser RSelzer FFaxon DP,Clinical progression of incidental, asymptomatic lesions discovered during culprit vessel coronary intervention. 2005 Jan 18;111(2):143-9 2004 Dec 27


One of my patients asked some time ago. If stents are the definite remedy for severe arterial narrowing, why not stent all my lesions (even the minor ones ) prophylactically doctor, so that it will not become tight at a later date?

That’s a good query. Your doubt is genuine , appear logical as well. But, unfortunately, it will be the most dangerous thing to do*. Metals are never friendly with the coronary arterial wall. We should use it extremely judiciously and only with tight flow-limiting lesions. These metals require annual (rather permanent) maintenance. Its taken care by multiple antiplatelet drugs. If for some reason your maintenance is erratic or the drugs fail to act you are at more risk of a future event.

(* This is what has  happened (happening) in the past, that demanded urgent publication of appropriate usage criteria)

Now, the current belief among the “fair thinking cardiology community” is dramatically changing. It’s leaning towards non-stent management even with significant flow-limiting obstructions in otherwise stable patients(SIHD). This belief is accruing more and more evidence base (The COURAGE 15 year follow up / ORBITA/ISCHEMIA)   All these studies confirm the emerging doctrine and bring back some semblance of sense into the cardiology community.

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