Objectives: This study was designed to assess whether the spectral waveform of coronary velocity on Doppler study is characteristically altered in the presence of significant stenosis with normalization of the spectral waveform after relief of endolumen obstruction.
Background: Although coronary flow reserve determinations have provided physiologic information complementary to the angiographic percent diameter narrowing, flow velocity measurements have been limited to proximal arteries with inconsistent results after angioplasty. A 12-MHz Doppler guide wire permits flow velocity determination in the proximal and distal coronary artery with fast Fourier spectral analysis.
Methods: With the Doppler guide wire, proximal arterial flow velocity and flow reserve measurements in 17 angiographically normal arteries were compared with measurements in 29 significantly stenosed arteries. Proximal and distal flow velocity measurements were also obtained before and after angioplasty of the 29 abnormal arteries. Velocity spectrum was digitized to compute peak diastolic velocity, peak systolic velocity, mean velocity, diastolic/systolic velocity ratio and first third and first half flow fraction.
Results: Compared with proximal stenosed arteries, proximal normal arteries had significantly higher peak diastolic velocity (64 +/- 26 cm/s vs. 41 +/- 26 cm/s) and higher coronary vasodilator reserve (2.3 +/- 0.8 vs. 1.6 +/- 0.7). Normal arteries had higher flows in the first third and first half of the coronary cycle (46 +/- 3% vs. 39 +/- 7% and 65 +/- 2% vs. 56 +/- 10%, respectively). Before angioplasty, coronary velocity variables were significantly lower distal than proximal to the stenosis. After angioplasty, there was a greater mean increase in distal velocities (200% vs. 90% for the proximal arteries) that resulted in near equalization of proximal and distal mean velocity and a significant reduction in proximal/distal mean velocity ratio (2.4 +/- 1.7 vs. 1.2 +/- 0.4).
Conclusions: Before angioplasty, abnormal coronary flow velocity dynamics are more marked distal than proximal to the stenosis. Greater increase in coronary flow velocities in the distal circulation after relief of endolumen obstruction results in a significant reduction in the proximal/distal flow velocity ratio. Thus, normalization of Doppler-derived flow velocity variables with marked reduction of the proximal/distal flow velocity ratios parallels angiographic success and may prove useful as an additional end point measurement in interventional cases with questionable angiographic findings.