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Intravascular Ultrasound Evaluation Of The Effect Of Rotational Atherectomy In Obstructive Atherosclerotic Coronary Artery Disease.

G S Mintz, B N Potkin, G Keren, L F Satler, A D Pichard, K M Kent, J J Popma, M B Leon

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BACKGROUND High-speed rotational atherectomy uses a diamond-coated, elliptical burr to abrade occlusive atherosclerosis, especially noncompliant calcified plaque. METHODS AND RESULTS Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) was used to analyze 28 patients after atherectomy. Arteries treated and imaged were left main (three), left anterior descending (12), left circumflex (five), right coronary (seven), and saphenous vein graft (one). Twenty patients had adjunct balloon angioplasty. Twenty-two (79%) target lesions were calcified; the intimal arc of calcium was 160 +/- 126 degrees (range, 0-360 degrees). After atherectomy, the intima-lumen interface was unusually distinct and circular. The lumen was larger than the largest burr used for both stand-alone (1.19 +/- 0.19-fold the largest burr size) and adjunct balloon procedures (1.30 +/- 0.15-fold the largest burr). Three-dimensional reconstruction of the ultrasound images showed a smooth lumen, especially in calcified plaque. Deviations from cylindrical geometry occurred only in areas of soft plaque or superficial tissue disruption of calcified plaque. Five patients were studied before and after rotational atherectomy. IVUS showed an increase in lumen size, a decrease in plaque-plus-media area and in arc of target lesion calcification, and no change in target lesion external elastic membrane cross-sectional area. CONCLUSIONS Rotational atherectomy causes atheroablation with only moderate evidence of barotrauma in heavily calcified arteries, even after adjunct balloon angioplasty. The lumen is cylindrical, especially in areas of calcified plaque, and somewhat larger than the largest burr tip used.