Background: This prospective, observational study was designed to evaluate the feasibility and the safety of a new strategy for stenting in acute coronary syndromes: direct stent implantation without predilation of the culprit lesion. This strategy might reduce both the cost of the procedure and the rate of no-reflow, a phenomenon that is more frequently observed during dilation of unstable plaques.
Methods and results: Between September 1997 and March 1998, 122 carefully selected patients with unstable angina or acute myocardial infarction were included in this study. Highly calcified lesions and vessels with excessive proximal tortuosity were excluded. The procedure was successful in 96% of cases. In 5 cases the stent failed to pass through the stenosis and was successfully retrieved in the guiding catheter in 3 cases. In 2 cases the stent was lost in the peripheral circulation. Transient no-reflow occurred in only 3 cases and was rapidly reversed by rescue use of an intracoronary bolus injection of a glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitor in 2 cases. A patient treated by primary angioplasty with cardiogenic shock on admission died 48 hours after the initial procedure because of irreversible cardiac failure. One-month clinical follow-up was obtained by telephone for all patients; no major coronary events occurred during this period.
Conclusions: Direct coronary stenting without balloon predilation can be safely performed in acute coronary syndrome-related lesions in selected patients. A randomized, controlled study is warranted to confirm the promising results of this pilot study, especially regarding the low rate of the no-reflow phenomenon.