Dynamic damping of the aortic pressure trace during hyperemia: the impact on fractional flow reserve measurement

J Invasive Cardiol. 2013 Oct;25(10):549-50.


We report on two cases that illustrate an important caveat in the measurement of fractional flow reserve (FFR) in coronary arteries. To obtain accurate FFR measurements, two fundamental requirements must be fulfilled. One is to minimize microvascular resistance; the other is that there is no damping of the proximal aortic pressure trace. A problem with either of these requirements can be a source of serious error in the measurement of FFR. In each case we present here, despite a good aortic pressure trace at the start of the procedure, there is dynamic damping of the pressure trace during hyperemia, secondary to axial migration of the guiding catheter into the left main stem (LMS). In both cases, a normal aortic pressure trace (Pa) is present at baseline. After intracoronary adenosine injection, there was a fall in both mean Pa and distal coronary pressure (Pd) concomitant with damping of Pa, evidenced by loss of the dicrotic notch and ventricularization of the pressure trace. The resultant FFR value is underestimated. As hyperemia wears off, both pressure traces return to normal with good articulation of the dicrotic notch. When the procedure was repeated taking care to ensure that the guide did not move into the LMS during hyperemia, the Pa trace remained stable following intracoronary adenosine, while mean Pd decreased as before. In both cases, hemodynamically significant lesions were demonstrated that had been masked by the artifactual drop in Pa during the first attempt.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / administration & dosage
  • Arterial Pressure / physiology*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Fractional Flow Reserve, Myocardial / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperemia / physiopathology*
  • Injections, Intra-Arterial
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Adenosine