Posts Tagged ‘rescue pci’

A young man aged around 40 years, had a STEMI was promptly thrombolysed in a small hospital located about 40 KM away in the suburbs of my city Chennai. They did an awesome job of saving the patient life and salvaging the myocardium.

Now begins the story . . . one of the non-medical person who is the owner of the hospital has an unfortunate working  business relationship with a frighteningly big nearby hospital  which had signed a memorandum of irresponsible understanding . It demanded any  patient who arrives in the small hospital with MI should be transferred at earliest opportunity to them.

So, an ambulance was arranged  and the patient (with a fairly well reperfused heart ) was shifted  in an emergency fashion . It reached desired destination after nicely chugging along the choked chaotic Chennai evening traffic for 45 minutes.

The guy was taken directly to cath lab through the side doors to perform a second salvage  procedure on a successfully opened IRA. Young cardiology consultants  in designer cath suite welcomed the smiling ACS patient to their posh new lab .Did few rapid radial shots, mumbled among themselves for few minutes,  decided to stent  a minimal LAD lesion for a patient who was in  zero distress with well-preserved LV function.

*The relatives of the patients were curious when they were asked sign a fresh set of consent which elaborately  mentioned about possible life risk during the procedure.

The patient’s wife  was clearly  amused and she pointed out to the superior cardiologists about  the earlier briefing by the Inferior freelance cardiologist who treated him in the previous hospital. She recalled , “I was told in confident terms  that  Initial thrombolysis  has been spectacularly  successful and bulk of the treatment is over and risk of complication has dramatically reduced”.

Then why is this distressing risk taking story again ,  she asked ?

The doctors hurriedly explained ,”this procedure is different. We are sorry to say we have no other option but to add  further risk to you” ! but , its all for your good !

Why should I ?  If the initial lysis is very successful  why do you want to meddle with it again ?

No Madam , you are ill-informed , you can’t talk like that .This is what modern  science  is all about. Leave the professional decision to us. We need to check immediately  whether the lysis is really successful .We can’t rely on the ECG.Further, true success lies in stenting the lesion as we fear the ill-fated site may close again.We are  taught to practice protocols based on standard scientific guidelines. This hospital has highest rating in-terms of quality care. That’s why we got updated ISO 2000  NABH accreditation

The women who is a soft ware engineer was smartly and  scientifically silenced in 5 minutes flat !

Post-amble :

What happened  to the patient then ? (When you fear something it happens is in’t the  Murphy’s law ?)

The apparently asymptotic and comfortable patient had uneventful PCI. A  long drug eluting  stent  was  implanted in recanalized  lesion in LAD with around 30 % narrowing that ended with an innocuous looking diagonal pinch. The procedure was uneventful , however next day he developed some fresh ECG changes and chest pain . The worried team took him for another angio found  stent was patent But , ultimately after a stressful 3 days of stay , some thing went wrong he ended up with new LV dysfunction.He got discharged fine with a caution  that , his stent needs to intensively monitored for the next 1 year since technically he had recurrent ACS !

Lessons we don’t learn from such cases.

When two procedures are done to accomplish the same aim (Reperfusion) , but with  differing success rates, expertise, time ,and unpredictable hazards , the benefits from them may not add together. There is clear knowledge deficit here. Scientific data can never provide fair answers to  these questions  as all real life cofounders can never be recreated in study population.

While we expect 1+1 to become  two in pharmaco-Invasvie strategy  ,one should realise it may end up with  either zero or even  – 2 .

1 -1 = 0

-1 + (-1)=  -2 ?

Learning cardiology from lay persons 

The patient’s shrewd wife threw this question ,

After two modes of re-perfusion done sequentially in my  husband’s  heart ,  at a total cost of Rs4.5Lakhs Why he  is  still left with significant LV dysfunction (Which was  around 40% EF.)

The query raised by the lady appeared much more crucial and logical than the ones discussed in many top-notch live interventional workshops we attend every few months!

As usual , I started mulling over the issue. There is something wrong with the way , we  understand  the pharmaco invasive approach-PIA .You go with it only if  initial pharmacological  approach has failed.

Of Course ,there is one more modality possible ie Pharmaco -Angio strategy where in, you look at the coronary anatomy and take a call ! This sounds good , the only issue is taking a right call ! My experience suggests wrong calls are the rule and  exceptions are rare. Then a whole new issue erupts about all those non IRA lesions

Final message

So till we have gain complete self-control over our evolved ignorance and evolving knowledge , it is better to follow this proposed  funny new ACS algorithm called “Pharmaco -non invasive” approach (PNIA)  in asymptomatic ACS patients  who have had apparently successful lysis.

*Please note, Incidentally  PNIA actually  refers to simple good old traditional stand alone thrombolysis.

Counter point

No one can deny Interventional cardiology carries a risk of untoward effects.Don’t blow this out of proportion. Do you know, how many lives have been saved by routine Pharmaco -Invasive approach ?

I am not sure , my experience may be limited.Let me ask the readers. Is routine PIA is warranted in all asymptomatic , successfully lysed STEMIs ?

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When a culprit thrombus keep the  myocardium as hostage . . . don’t storm the coronary artery  indiscriminately   !

When a single gun men  keeps 100 innocent people as hostages , threatening their  lives, rescue mission should start .No can can afford to wait. But, without knowing  the  culprit’s true nature the process of rescue mission is always going to be tricky .There are so many instances Newton’s third law  was reversed , when reactions  evoke more chaos  than the index action.

In the recent world terrorist events ,  the  rescue missions  were so delicate and  it was very  unfortunate we  lost  many   innocent hostages !  The reasoning is ,there  is no way we can avoid these. I wonder is it really true ? !

rescue missionNot all culprit lesions  are true ones.They simply threaten  our myocardium with  thrombus and plaques  in various forms .Don’t show aggression to pseudo threats  you may  ultimately end up with more damage.(What I call as crazy culprits!)

(  Read here , why unstable angina even though thrombus is sitting right inside the coronary artery attempting to lyse it causes more  damage !)

After thought

Iam sure ,bulk of  the Interventionists wouldn’t agree with this thought . They would decry , watching a person  silently when the myocardium  is on  fire is a serious crime !

But . . . we  need to  remember the process of extinguishing  the fire  with some more fire arms is a delicate game played in undefined  philosophical turf.

The only way to introspect  such events in life is , to accept any eventuality    arising out of “not pursuing”  a  presumed rescue mission with vigor. No need to be guilty about that,after all , it can be a myth !

Modern human cognition , growing with a staple  scientific  feed  on a 24/7  basis  is  unlikely to realise , restraint can be an effective tool  even in critical moments !

Oh,is all that I have  scribbled so far  is just a repetition  of 1000 year concept of  “Primum non nocere”

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           Do not ever under estimate  the importance of  TIMI 1 flow .  It can save a  major chunk of myocardium !   A late TIMI 3  flow   . . . is far inferior . . .  to  an early TIMI 1 flow . * Even a trickle  of  flow (Ooze )   can keep the myocardium  alive .  This point we have realised very late. Thus came the   pharmaco Invasive strategy for  all STEMI  who have no immediate access to cath lab ! (please note 90 % of STEMI belong to this group )

pharmaco invasive strategy for stemi002

For a high resolution Image  click below

pharmaco invasive strategy in stemi

* Even a trickle (Ooze )   blood flow can keep the myocardium  alive .

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For STEMI management there are  6 management protocols available

  1. Thrombolysis
  2. Primary PCI
  3. Rescue PCI
  4. Facilitated PCI
  5. Pharmaco -Invasive approach
  6. CABG

*CABG is rarely used except in  severe mechanical complication.

There is some  issues in differentiating  facilitated PCI and  Pharmaco Invasive Approach.

What do we facilitate ? How we do it ?

PCI in acute STEMI is done in a thrombotic milleu. So we get sub optimal results .Hence to facilitate it we try using

either 2B-3A antagonists, Newer Heparins, or even thrombolytic agents before submitting them for PCI

Where is this facilitation done ?

Facilitated PCI is done in small hospitals where  there  is no cath lab or cath lab is available only during office hours.

Facilitation can be done in either in same hospital or on the way to big hospital

Is there a time window to start  this ?

The main aim was to was to facilitate the PCI .Hence time window was not considered vital in few studies (Wrongly though !) ideally it should be started as early as the first contact . Since facilitation can be started earlier the time window is 0-24 hours .

What happened to the concept of f-PCI ?

It died a premature death  and  last rites were  completed when the FINNESE trial was out .

But it left behind a daughter concept ie in selected patients if the facilitation is done early , especially in those patients who are going to get the subsequent PCI late ,or in high risk individuals  , the initial  pharmacological facilitation* was indeed useful.)

*If  facilitation was with   fibrinolytic agents (Not 2a/2b )  .It is very important the benefits of facilitation is mainly  attributed to the time gain in achieving partial opening of IRA  making it more complete salvage of the subsequent PCI .

This aspect later on named as PIA .

Pharmaco- invasive approach(PIA)

We know p PCI is a race against time .We also  know fibrinolytic therapy  fares well in this race  but   pPCI  beats in   effectiveness  .

So what prevents us to combine the swiftness the fibrinolysis and the robustness of pPCI ?  That is  like getting the best of both world .( It is not that easy thing accomplish after all 1+1 in medicine is rarely 2 !)

In it’s core principle it  is same as f-PCI . But facilitation is done only with fibrinolytic agent (Not 2B-3A) . Pharmaco Invasive strategy can be started in any small hospital/ In the ambulance /. It  is routinely followed by PCI whether the initial thrombolysis is successful or not . PIA should not be done before 3 hours window if  a timely pPCI is feasible.  Hence PIA has a typical time window of 3-24 hours .


f-PCI is combining  various anti-platelet and fibrinlytic strategy prior to PCI . It was found  to be useless if it is used routinely in all cases of pPCI. (Rather 2B-3A  was useful  if  only the facilitation was done within the cath lab to prevent procedure related issues) .Time window can be between 0-24h .

Pharmaco Invasive approach (PIA)   is actually a type of f-PCI where  fibrinolytic agents are used routinely which is followed by mandatory angiogram and PCI in all deserving cases.Many still  believe the facilitation in PIA is primarily accured in  shortening the   time to reperfusion  rather than altering the thrombus load and morphology  ! Time window is usually between 3-24 hours.

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Answer :

In cardiogenic shock it is A . In all others it is probably  C.

While D may be  considered as  an  essential target criteria  for completing the  rescue PCI

Read also

Why-we-often-follow-a-reckless-time-window-for-rescue-angioplasty ?

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Rescue PCI rescues

  1. Myocardium
  2. Patient’s life
  3. Both
  4. None
  5. Cardiologist pride


All of the above can be a correct response in varying situations.

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