Posts Tagged ‘rescue pci’

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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How early one can shift a patient for rescue PCI after failed thrombolysis ?

  1.  Wait for at-least 24  hours.
  2. A minimum  cool off period of 2 hours is required.
  3. It is never an issue . Rush the patient  immediately to cath lab
  4. The question does not arise  . Often times ,  rescue PCI is a dead concept  as  sufficient damage has happened !


The irony of  medical science  lies in our belief that every medical query  has a specific answer ! In reality it is rarely true.   In this instance , any of  the above can be a correct response.

A patient with  failed thrombolysis can belong to any of the  64 possible combinations*  based on  time of  thrombolysis , extent of  MI,  associated complications, co- morbid conditions , presence of symptoms . (For example there is  a sub groups of patient with  failed thrombolysis still  asymptomatic  and comfortable )

The issues for rescue PCI  do not  arise  in a   sinking STEMI (Cardiogenic shock ) , or  STEMI with persistent angina. There  is  no  management issues in  these patients  .They need to be rushed to cath lab. Unfortunately  in  impending  LVF or manifest LVF (But not in shock )  decision making is tough , as doing a PCI in patients  with basal crackles  and hypoxia is a real challenge .These are the patients who are likely  to hit hard  from the hazards of the procedure .Extreme caution is required.

I have seen  significant cohort  of  asymptomatic hypotensive patients getting converted into   drug resistant, IABP dependent refractory shock after PCI  ,  making every one look  pathetic  !  The  only solace for the interventionist  is  the gratification  of  stenting the  IRA !

This  happens  , in spite  of having  multi national trained  in house critical care anesthetics and  dual core processing IABP  . Realise  what we need is delicate decision making ,  So use extreme diligence in selecting patients with impeding shock .

Your medical management can  provide  more teeth to stabilise your patient than a PCI .If you are doubt discuss with your learned colleagues .  ( If you  do not  ask for evidence for  this statement , probably  it would confirm  you  as  an  experienced   cardiologist  !)

Real issues pushed to the sidelines ?

While the real issue  in the timing of rescue PCI  may be  different , the discussion traditionally  revolves around   hemo-rheological aspects . We know  the lytics and PCI do not combine well for two reasons.

  • Pro-coagulant nature of lytic state .
  • Excess bleeding risk at puncture site.

Now ,  we have evidence to say fibrin specific lytics  TPA, TNKTPA has less of this issue . ( NORDISTEMI)

Patients who receive  fibrin specific lytics  can  safely  be  taken for rescue PCI  in case it is needed without any increased risk .

Bleeding complication  has dramatically reduced as radial procedures are done often even in emergency setting.

Vascular occlusive devices  have added to our comfort.

* The definition of failed  thrombolysis by  itself is not standardized . Is it symptom guided ?  or ECG / enzyme / echo guided  ? A patient with  infarct  related chest pain (dull aching )  after thromolysis can be labeled as post infarct refractory angina and rushed for emergency angiogram .(This is due to our ignorance  about  the  residual pain signals  through  type c pain fibres  for up to 24 hours )

Final message

The indication and  timing of rescue PCI is  primarily  related   to the  overall   patient profile  rather than the bleeding or pro-coagulant issues .

Although   pro-coagulant  lytic state is based on weak scientific  foundation , it  is a blessing in disguise  as it  can  act  as a deterrent  in restricting  inappropriate rescue PCI !

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