Posts Tagged ‘sub acute stent thrombosis’

  • How do you classify  stent thrombosis ?

  • What is target vessel revascularisation ?

  • How do  you define  peri-procedural MI ?  Is  troponin elevation alone  enough ?

Want answers for all these ? Your search ends here  . . . The academic research consortium criteria committee provides everything free .

A must read for both  mature and immature  cardiologists . http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/115/17/2344.full.pdf+html

Here is a cartoon for classifying  stent thrombosis (Time based )

There is another etio-pathological /Geographical classification for  stent thrombosis  that will be discussed later.

( Entry block , exit block  , diffuse thrombosis  etc  Read -Geographical miss.)

A word about Academic research consortium

ARC is a consortium of clinical research  from the  Harvard medical school and their associates . The aim of which is  to bring clarity in the  definition of  medical  terminologies and study endpoints.A universal  criteria is being prepared  so that  the study results are comparable which currently use  different criteria  and end points.

For cardiology ARC came out with standardized definition in the year 2007.

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An atherosclerotic  plaque is termed  vulnerable when it’s  future behavior is unpredictable .A vulnerable  plaque has a  tendency to get occluded at any time.

Anatomically  a  vulnerable  is  present  , if the lipid core is more , fibrous cap is  thin  and  a  large lipid  core hanging eccentrically. A plaque with high temperature (Hot plaques ,febrile plaques)detected by OCT/Raman spectroscopy or thermography

Note the T cells and macrophages wage a losing battle against a metal monster !

What is the best method to calm down these vulnerable , hot ,inflamed plaques ?

A stent which scaffolds a plaque is believed to stabilse it  and  make it less vulnerable to rupture. This is the most optimistic view on coronary stenting .

Here comes  a pessimistic view !

A metal inside a coronary artery covering is  additional  threat .A metal  is   perennially  thrombogenic  ,especially the drug eluting stents which suppress the normal endothelial  function .

What  is the realistic view  ?

A stent should be used cautiously and judiciously in coronary plaques  with   high risk features  .Here  a  stent  in all probability  converts a vulnerable plaque  into a  relatively stable plaque

When stenting is done indiscriminately( without application of mind )  in stable non flow limiting lesions  stability is replaced with vulnerability.

Is it not curious to know  any angina  in a patient  who  had   PCI  for chronic  stable angina  is labeled  as unstable angina. 

Vulnerable stents

Following are typical  clinical scenarios   where stents could  carry a vulnerability  tag . 

  1. Poorly deployed  stents
  2. Properly deployed (but unnecessarily deployed especially in chronic stable angina )
  3. All Bifurcation stents
  4. Distal left main stents
  5. Stents with plaque prolapse
  6. Finally and most importantly all  drug eluting stents are considered  vulnerable ! (That’s why  our patients has to  live at the mercy of dual platelet blockers , life long.  Of course , there is no life time warranty   that  drugs do their  job properly)

And now . . .  you answer my  question !

Can  stenting convert a stable plaque  into vulnerable plaque ?

  • If  “yes’ is your answer your patients are in safe hands .
  • If  ” No”   is  your  answer ,  you are  fit to become a leading  interventional cardiologist !

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Fundamental principle  of  human biological system is to live in harmony with nature and environment.Each cell  has a unique reaction  when it comes into contact with  external  material. This reaction can be acute or chronic  ,   local or systemic. The most severe form of allergy is called anaphylaxis  that can result in instantaneous loss of life. There  is a whole gamut of disorders  that  resulted  in a  separate  speciality called allergic medicine .

Further ,the transplantation  science have   taught us  an  organ or cell can be rejected at any point of time after implantation (Hyperacute -chronic) .With advancement of science we have started implanting a variety of devices  with complex metallurgy ,inside human body, metal clips, prosthesis, valves, wires, etc .How the body handles them .The consequences can be a mild reaction to major ones occasionally.

Consider ,a local allergy due to a orthopedic prosthesis  in one of the leg bones  is far less serious than a metal within a coronary artery  irritating the intima .

Remember hypersensitivity reactions can be severe . This lady reacted  like this to a sandal slipper -A  fiery red  infiltration

contact dermatits stent allergy pci coronary

Imagine  if a stented coronary artery react like this what would be the possible consequence ?

In susceptible  individuals  , can a metal cause

  • Intimal hyperemia
  • Intimal induration
  • Intimo-medial edema  following stent deployment

pci stent coronary angiogram thrombosis des

Why drug eluting stents are more prone for hypersensitivity ?

The answer is simple , while metal allergy is a comparatively rare phenomenon, the drugs we  coat and the polymers used are  many fold likely to result in hypersensitivity reaction.

While  the world is worried  more  about penicillin , sulpha allergy which occurs in 1 in 100000 ,  we tend to ignore the metal and drug  reactions within  the tender coronary arteries.

stent des rejection virmani  pci

What is  the clinical expression of  stent hypersensitivity ?

It is  often a coronary event in the acute phase and restenosis in chronic phase.

How much of acute stent thrombosis is related to stent allergy mediated reaction ?

The exact incidence  will  never be known. It could be high. Whenever a sudden unexpected early stent occlusion can be a suspect .

Is stent allergy a local reaction or systemic reaction ?

It is most often local .The drugs the stent elute can elicit a systemic reaction occasionally.

So what can be done to prevent this complication ?

Drug companies in it’s  package regularly  include the warning  message ! What does it imply to have a caution  on the covers ? .This warning simply represent about our ignorance in this issue. We presume it is a minor problem.

pci stent thrombosis stent allergy metal

Questions unanswered

  1. How does a cardiac patient knows whether he is hypersensitive to stainless steel or nickel ?
  2. Is it practical to have a stent allergic test in every patient before PCI ?
  3. Is routine administration of corticosteroids for few days after PCI an answer ?


R.Virmani , circulation 2004


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                                                    Drugs are poisons , whenever it is administered without valid purpose. it can enter human body  in many ways (Oral, intravenous, percutaneous etc ) And now we have another route namely intracoronary !

                                                   In quest for prevention of restenosis, many of the anti cancer drugs are now delivered directly inside the coronary arteries .These drugs are secreted  like a sustained release  tablet from the drug coated stents.These drugs are expected to prevent restenosis within the stented segment.But, after years of  intense debate and research  , we realised that ,  drugs  eluted from the stent  could damage the distal coronary vascular bed and coronary microcirculation.( And thus came the epidemic of acute stent thrombosis ! )

                                                The tender and sensitive coronary microvasculature  is constantly exposed to  these  powerful anticancer and immmunosuppresive  drugs .It is a great surprise , no body thought of  this dangerous drug -coronary artery interaction ! It required the genius of Renu virmani and others to point out this.

But still , the cardiology community by and large , fails to consider  this an important issue.This is proven by the fact, usage of DES is  still increasing  and used mainly as an off label indication.

Read this land mark article from circulation




Questions that need to be answered

  • What is the long term effects of drugging a coronary artery ?
  • Is no reflow or slow flow  more common after DES , because of the adverse drug reaction in the distal vascular bed ?
  • If a patient  with  DES  undergoes a CABG later what  would be  the impact of the  drug on the graft ? Will the functional vasodilatation   affected ?

Final message

                                  A drug , to get a legal clearance it has to undergo  hundreds of rigorous tests . Finally it is cleared for that  specific indication for which it is tested  .Just because a drug is cleared for one purpose ( Paclitaxel for malignancy ) it does not mean it is safe to use for any other  purpose for which it is deemed to be useful . Exactly the  opposite is happening   in the  the field of interventional cardiology . No body wondered to think what would be the effect of these drugs on the normal coronary endothelial cells and vasculature.Is it not a crime ,  without analysing this particular issue  , dozens of drug eluting stents have been released in the market . And now,  sounds of crying  foul is heard world wide !

Let us thank  , the so called negative forces in cardiology  for making this an  issue . In science ,  the watch dogs should bark  at  times of danger not wag the tail !

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