Background: Transmyocardial revascularization (TMR) has emerged as a promising treatment for ischemic heart disease in patients who are not candidates for coronary bypass surgery or angioplasty. Controversy exists, however, as to whether the use of laser energy is critical for TMR channel patency. We therefore compared by histologic assessment the outcome of lased channels with nonlased channels 30) days after TMR, using a low energy, short-pulse, fiberoptic excimer laser.
Methods and results: In each of six sheep, 36 1-mm TMR channels (9 mJ; 240 Hz; 1.55 cm advance/s) were placed in the anterior wall of the left ventricle, and 12 1-mm nonlased channels were created in adjacent segments by advancing the fiberoptic through the left ventricular wall with the laser inactivated. Of the 36 lased channels, 56+/-7.3% were identifiable, and 100% of those identifiable appeared to represent a "channel derivative" with evidence of an endothelialized lumen, whereas none of the nonlased channels had evidence of channel patency. Lased channels had a marked neovascular response (graded on a 0-3 scale) compared with nonlased channels (2.5+/-0.1 versus 1.0+/-0.1; P<.05). Echocardiography performed 1 and 30 days after TMR demonstrated normal global and regional left ventricular function in all animals. Creatinine phosphokinase myocardial band fractions were not significantly increased after TMR.
Conclusions: TMR using the excimer laser results in increased evidence of channel derivatives and neovascularization compared with nonlased channels while preserving normal ventricular function. These findings suggest that laser energy may be an important component of TMR strategy.