Objective: Atherosclerotic disease might hamper the efficacy of the Excimer laser-assisted Trinity Clip anastomotic connector in coronary arteries. Therefore, its efficacy was evaluated on human diseased coronary arteries (study 1). In addition, the acute laser effects onto the coronary wall were assessed (study 2).
Methods: Thirty-eight anastomoses were constructed on ex vivo human hearts. Atherosclerosis was histopathologically determined and subsequently related to the success of the technique (ie, connector positioning and laser punching; study 1). In addition, 20 anastomoses were constructed in an ex vivo (porcine, n = 8) and an in vivo [rabbit (n = 9) and porcine (n = 3)] model. Subsequently, the coronary was histologically studied on the presence of laser-induced damage (study 2).
Results: In 13 of 38 anastomoses (study 1), the connector was malpositioned, 3 because of a severely diseased coronary wall and 10 because of an inner diameter less than the intended target range. The laser-punch success rates on coronary arteries with an early and advanced lesion were 100% (16/16) and 89% (8/9; lesions were located in the inferolateral wall), respectively. In one case, an advanced lesion (ie, fibrocalcified plaque) was located in the superolateral wall and caused a laser-punch failure. No histological signs of laser-induced damage were observed, in case of correct use (study 2).
Conclusions: This study demonstrates the feasibility of an anastomotic connector on human diseased coronary arteries and shows that lasering does not induce coronary wall damage. However, careful selection of the coronary, regarding the target inner diameter and disease status, will prevent construction failures. This connector could facilitate less invasive coronary artery bypass grafting.