Circ Cardiovasc Interv. 2020 Nov;13(11):e008640. doi: 10.1161/CIRCINTERVENTIONS.119.008640. Epub 2020 Nov 2.


Background: During fractional flow reserve (FFR) measurement, the simple presence of the guiding catheter (GC) within the coronary ostium might create artificial ostial stenosis, affecting the hyperemic flow. We aimed to investigate whether selective GC engagement of the coronary ostium might impede hyperemic flow, and therefore impact FFR measurements and related clinical decision-making.

Methods: In the DISENGAGE (Determination of Fractional Flow Reserve in Intermediate Coronary Stenosis With Guiding Catheter Disengagement) registry, FFR was prospectively measured twice (with GC engaged [FFReng] and disengaged [FFRdis]) in 202 intermediate stenoses of 173 patients. We assessed (1) whether ΔFFReng-FFRdis was significantly different from the intrinsic variability of repeated FFR measurements (test-retest repeatability); (2) whether the extent of ΔFFReng-FFRdis could be clinically significant and therefore able to impact clinical decision-making; and (3) whether ΔFFReng-FFRdis related to the stenosis location, that is, proximal and middle versus distal coronary segments.

Results: Overall, FFR significantly changed after GC disengagement: FFReng 0.84±0.08 versus FFRdis 0.80±0.09, P<0.001. Particularly, in 38 stenoses (19%) with FFR values in the 0.81 to 0.85 range, GC disengagement was associated with a shift from above to below the 0.80 clinical cutoff, resulting into a change of the treatment strategy from medical therapy to percutaneous coronary intervention. The impact of GC disengagement was significantly more pronounced with stenoses located in proximal and middle as compared with distal coronary segments (ΔFFReng-FFRdis, proximal and middle 0.04±0.03 versus distal segments 0.03±0.03; P=0.042).

Conclusions: GC disengagement results in a shift of FFR values from above to below the clinical cutoff FFR value of 0.80 in 1 out of 5 measurements. This occurs mostly when the stenosis is located in proximal and middle coronary segments and the FFR value is close to the cutoff value.

Keywords: angiography; clinical decision-making; myocardial infarction; percutaneous coronary intervention; registries.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angina, Unstable / diagnosis*
  • Angina, Unstable / physiopathology
  • Angina, Unstable / therapy
  • Artifacts
  • Belgium
  • Cardiac Catheterization* / adverse effects
  • Cardiac Catheterization* / instrumentation
  • Cardiac Catheters
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / therapy
  • Coronary Stenosis / diagnosis*
  • Coronary Stenosis / physiopathology
  • Coronary Stenosis / therapy
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Fractional Flow Reserve, Myocardial*
  • Humans
  • Hyperemia / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Non-ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Non-ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction / therapy
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Reproducibility of Results