EXpansion of stents after intravascular lithoTripsy versus conventional predilatation in CALCified coronary arteries

Int J Cardiol. 2023 Sep 1;386:24-29. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2023.05.012. Epub 2023 May 12.


Background: Coronary artery calcification is a strong predictor for procedural failure and is independently associated with adverse events after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). An important contributor to the impaired outcome is the inability to achieve optimal results due to stent underexpansion or stent deformation/fracture. Intravascular lithotripsy (IVL) has emerged as an alternative technique to change the integrity of calcified plaques.

Aims: Our aim was to investigate if pre-treatment with IVL in severely calcified lesions increases stent expansion, assessed by optical coherence tomography (OCT), when compared to predilatation with conventional and/or specialty balloon strategy.

Methods: EXIT-CALC was a prospective, single-centre, randomised controlled study. Patients with an indication for PCI and severe calcification of the target lesion were allocated to predilatation with conventional angioplasty balloons or pre-treatment with IVL, followed by drug-eluting stenting and mandatory postdilatation. Primary endpoint was stent expansion assessed by OCT. Secondary endpoints were the occurrence of peri-procedural events and major adverse cardiac events (MACE) in hospital and during follow-up.

Results: A total of 40 patients were included. The minimal stent expansion in the IVL-group (n = 19) was 83.9 ± 10.3% and 82.2 ± 11.5% in the conventional group (n = 21) (p = 0.630). Minimal stent area was 6.6 ± 1.5 mm2 and 6.2 ± 1.8 mm2, respectively (p = 0.406). No peri-procedural, in-hospital and 30-day follow-up MACE were reported.

Conclusions: In severely calcified coronary lesions we found no significant difference in stent expansion measured by OCT when comparing IVL, as plaque modification, with conventional and/or specialty angioplasty balloons.

Keywords: Calcified stenosis; Conventional angioplasty; Coronary artery disease; Intravascular lithotripsy; Optical coherence tomography.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Artery Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / surgery
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology
  • Coronary Vessels / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lithotripsy* / adverse effects
  • Lithotripsy* / methods
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention* / adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stents
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Calcification* / diagnostic imaging
  • Vascular Calcification* / surgery