Background: In animal models of coronary restenosis, intracoronary radiotherapy has been shown to reduce the intimal hyperplasia that is a part of restenosis. We studied the safety and efficacy of catheter-based intracoronary gamma radiation plus stenting to reduce coronary restenosis in patients with previous restenosis.
Methods: Patients with restenosis underwent coronary stenting, as required, and balloon dilation and were then randomly assigned to receive catheter-based irradiation with iridium-192 or placebo. Clinical follow-up was performed, with quantitative coronary angiographic and intravascular ultrasonographic measurements at six months.
Results: Fifty-five patients were enrolled; 26 were assigned to the iridium-192 group and 29 to the placebo group. Angiographic studies were performed in 53 patients (96 percent) at a mean (+/-SD) of 6.7+/-2.2 months. The mean minimal luminal diameter at follow-up was larger in the iridium-192 group than in the placebo group (2.43+/-0.78 mm vs. 1.85+/-0.89 mm, P=0.02). Late luminal loss was significantly lower in the iridium-192 group than in the placebo group (0.38+/-1.06 mm vs. 1.03+/-0.97 mm, P=0.03). Angiographically identified restenosis (stenosis of 50 percent or more of the luminal diameter at follow-up) occurred in 17 percent of the patients in the iridium-192 group, as compared with 54 percent of those in the placebo group (P= 0.01). There were no apparent complications of the treatment.
Conclusions: In this preliminary, short-term study of patients with previous coronary restenosis, coronary stenting followed by catheter-based intracoronary radiotherapy substantially reduced the rate of subsequent restenosis.