Coronary perforation incidence, outcomes and temporal trends (COPIT): a systematic review and meta-analysis

Open Heart. 2022 Oct;9(2):e002076. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2022-002076.


Coronary perforation is a potentially life-threatening complication of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). We studied incidence, outcomes and temporal trends following PCI-related coronary artery perforation (CAP).

Methods: Prospective systematic review and meta-analysis including meta-regression using MEDLINE and EMBASE to November 2020. We included 'all-comer' PCI cohorts including large PCI registries and randomised controlled trials and excluding registries or trials limited to PCI in high-risk populations such as chronic total occlusion PCI or cohorts treated only with atheroablative devices. Regression analysis and corresponding correlation coefficients were performed comparing perforation incidence, mortality rate, tamponade rate and the rate of Ellis III perforations against the midpoint (year) of data collection to determine if a significant temporal relationship was present.

Results: 3997 studies were screened for inclusion. 67 studies met eligibility criteria with a total of 5 568 191 PCIs included over a 38-year period (1982-2020). The overall pooled incidence of perforation was 0.39% (95% CI 0.34% to 0.45%) and remained similar throughout the study period. Around 1 in 5 coronary perforations led to tamponade (21.1%). Ellis III perforations are increasing in frequency and account for 43% of all perforations. Perforation mortality has trended lower over the years (7.5%; 95% CI 6.7% to 8.4%). Perforation risk factors derived using meta-regression were female sex, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and previous coronary bypass grafting. Coronary perforation was most frequently caused by distal wire exit (37%) followed by balloon dilation catheters (28%). Covered stents were used to treat 25% of perforations, with emergency cardiac surgery needed in 17%.

Conclusion: Coronary perforation complicates approximately 1 in 250 PCIs. Ellis III perforations are increasing in incidence although it is unclear whether this is due to reporting bias. Despite this, the overall perforation mortality rate (7.5%) has trended lower in recent years. Limitations of our findings include bias that may be introduced through analysis of multidesign studies and registries without pre-specified standardised perforation reporting CMore research into coronary perforation management including the optimal use of covered stents seems warranted.

Prospero registration number: CRD42020207881.

Keywords: coronary artery disease; percutaneous coronary intervention.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Vessels / surgery
  • Female
  • Heart Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Heart Injuries* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention* / adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies