Objectives: The goal of the study was to evaluate the progressive increase in ischemic threshold with multiple sequential transient coronary occlusions and to assess the role of the collateral circulation in adaptation to ischemia.
Background: It has been observed that the duration of balloon inflations during coronary angioplasty can be gradually prolonged during subsequent dilations with a reduction in patient symptoms and diminished ischemic electrocardiographic (ECG) changes. Although the mechanism has not been fully explained, recruitment of coronary collateral circulation induced by repeated coronary occlusion has been reported. The stimuli for recruitment and the natural history of coronary collateral circulation are not understood.
Methods: Seventeen patients with isolated stenosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery and a normal left ventricle were enrolled. Angioplasty consisted of five successive prolonged inflations. Sequential changes in clinical, intracoronary ECG and left ventricular indexes of myocardial ischemia were examined. Coronary collateral channels were evaluated during balloon inflations by ipsilateral and contralateral injections of contrast medium and hemodynamically by occlusion pressure.
Results: An improved tolerance to myocardial ischemia with repetitive coronary occlusions was demonstrated by a significant reduction of angina, ST segment deviation, left ventricular filling pressure and less impairment of ejection fraction. Left ventricular wall motion abnormalities remained unchanged. Collateral angiographic grade did not change in 7 patients and increased in 10.
Conclusions: This study confirms a progressive adaptation of myocardial ischemia to repetitive coronary occlusions and supports the concept that sequential episodes of myocardial ischemia are a stimulating factor for the recruitment of collateral channels in humans. These results also suggest that enhancement of recruitable collateral circulation might be an underlying mechanism of myocardial ischemic preconditioning.