Calcium Modification Techniques in Complex Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

Circ Cardiovasc Interv. 2021 May;14(5):e009870. doi: 10.1161/CIRCINTERVENTIONS.120.009870. Epub 2021 Jan 14.


Percutaneous coronary intervention is the most common mode of revascularization and is increasingly undertaken in high-risk subsets, including the elderly. The presence of coronary artery calcification is increasingly observed and significantly limits technical success. The mechanisms for this are multi-factorial, including increased arterial wall stiffness and impaired delivery of devices, leading to suboptimal stent delivery, deployment, and expansion which are harbingers for increased risk of in-stent restenosis and stent thrombosis. Although conventional balloon pretreatment techniques aim to mitigate this risk by modifying the lesion before stent placement, many lesions remain resistant to conventional strategies, due to the severity of calcification. There have been several substantial technological advancements in calcium modification methods in recent years, which have allowed improved procedural success with low periprocedural complication rates. This review will summarize the current adjunctive modification technologies that can be employed to improve technical outcomes in percutaneous coronary intervention in calcific disease and the evidence supporting these tools.

Keywords: algorithm; calcium; coronary artery disease; percutaneous coronary intervention; stents.