Despite advances in primary percutaneous interventions (PPCI), management of microvascular obstructions in reperfused myocardial tissue remains challenging and is a high-risk procedure. This has led to renewed interest in the coronary venous system as an alternative route of access to the myocardium. This article reviews historical data describing therapeutic options via cardiac veins as well as discussing the clinical potential and limitations of a catheter intervention: pressure controlled intermittent coronary sinus occlusion (PICSO). Collected experimental and clinical information suggest that PICSO also offers the potential for tissue regeneration beyond myocardial salvage. A meta-analysis of observer controlled pICSO application in animal studies showed a dose dependent reduction in infarct size of 29.3% (p < 0.001). Additionally, a 4-fold increase of hemeoxygenase-1 gene expression (p < 0.001) in the center of infarction and a 2.5 fold increase of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) (p < 0.002) in border zones suggest that molecular pathways are initiating structural maintenance. Early clinical evidence confirmed significant salvage and event free survival in patients with acute myocardial infarction and risk reduction for event free survival 5 years after the acute event (p < 0.0001). This experimental and clinical evidence was recently corroborated using modern PICSO technology in PPCI showing a significant reduction of infarct size, when compared to matched controls (p < 0.04). PICSO enhances redistribution of flow towards deprived zones, clearing microvascular obstruction and leading to myocardial protection. Beyond salvage, augmentation of molecular regenerative networks suggests a second mechanism of PICSO involving the activation of vascular cells in cardiac veins, thus enhancing structural integrity and recovery.
Keywords: Acute coronary syndromes; Myocardial regeneration; Myocardial salvage; PICSO.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.