Objectives: This study sought to examine the mechanism of increasing coronary flow reserve after balloon angioplasty and stenting.
Background: Coronary vasodilatory reserve (CVR) does not improve after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty in > or = 50% of patients, postulated to be due to impaired microvascular circulation or inadequate lumen expansion despite adequate angiographic results.
Methods: To demonstrate the role of coronary lumen expansion, serial coronary flow velocity (0.014-in. Doppler guide wire) was measured in 42 patients before and after balloon angioplasty and again after stent placement. A subset (n = 17) also underwent intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging of the target sites after angioplasty and stenting. CVR (velocity) was computed as the ratio of adenosine-induced maximal hyperemic to basal average peak velocity.
Results: The percent diameter stenosis decreased from (mean +/- SD) 84 +/- 13% to 37 +/- 18% after angioplasty and to 8 +/- 8% after stenting (both p < 0.05). CVR was minimally changed from 1.70 +/- 0.79 at baseline to 1.89 +/- 0.56 (p = NS) after angioplasty but increased to 2.49 +/- 0.68 after stent placement (p < 0.01 vs. before and after angioplasty). IVUS lumen cross-sectional area was significantly larger after stenting than after angioplasty (8.39 +/- 2.09 vs. 5.10 +/- 2.03 mm2, p < 0.05). Anatomic variables were related to increasing coronary flow velocity reserve (CVR vs. IVUS lumen area: r = 0.47, p < 0.005; CVR vs. quantitative coronary angiographic percent area stenosis: r = 0.58, p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: In most cases, increases in CVR were associated with increases in coronary lumen cross-sectional area. These data suggest that impaired CVR after angioplasty is often related to the degree of residual narrowing, which at times may not be appreciated by angiography. A physiologically complemented approach to balloon angioplasty may improve procedural outcome.