Introduction: Earlier studies have established the value of coronary pressure wires for diagnosing and monitoring the treatment of patients with coronary artery disease. In this study we demonstrated their usefulness in the daily clinical practice of a catheterization laboratory.
Material and methods: A retrospective study of the use of pressure wires in our laboratory between October 1998 and November 2000. The pressure wire was inserted whenever the interventional cardiologist considered it to be indicated. In all cases, pressures were recorded with a Waveguide Cardiometrics 0.014 guide (Endosonics) and hyperemia was induced by intracoronary adenosine.
Results: Two hundred fifty-three lesions were studied in 190 patients. Indications were functional evaluation of lesions of intermediate severity for 82% (9% intrastent restenoses); guidance of balloon PTCA for 5%; and fulfillment of a research protocol for 13%. Twenty-six percent of lesions considered to be of moderate severity based on angiography were treated as a consequence of the pressures measured by the wire. A decision to begin or continue a procedure was based on wire pressures in 24% and intervention was avoided in 60%. No major complications attributable to the wire were observed. A lesion was dissected in one patient (0.5%) but it was treated without consequences. Twenty pressure wires (11%) failed to work properly during the procedure, fourteen of them (7%) before insertion. The wire could not be advanced across the lesion in one case.
Conclusions: The pressure wire is useful in the daily clinical practice of a catheterization laboratory. Its most common indication is the evaluation of lesions of intermediate or unknown severity, and use is associated with few complications.