Distal protection

William J. van Gaal and Adrian P. Banning

in Oxford Textbook of Interventional Cardiology

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199569083
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199697816 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Distal protection

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  • Radiology
  • Cardiovascular Medicine


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Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) aims to restore normal epicardial flow and improve microvascular perfusion to the vascular bed beyond the obstructive coronary stenosis. In the setting of elective PCI, the goal is to achieve this without injury to the distal myocardium, whilst in acute coronary syndromes, namely acute ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the goal is restore epicardial patency and microvascular perfusion as quickly as possible to limit the extent of irreversibly injured (necrotic) myocardium. The pathophysiology of distal injury in these clinical scenarios differs, and thus protection of the myocardium in the elective and acute setting requires different approaches.

The concept of distal protection was initially trialled during vein graft PCI. Vein grafts are large capacious conduits with large volumes of plaque. The concept that a basket placed downstream on the wire might catch plaque liberated during balloon expansion was the subject of a number of landmark studies proving in concept that this approach might be beneficial in these specific patients. A number of different devices have evolved and their use is considered routine in most centres when vein grafts are being treated.

Chapter.  9532 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Radiology ; Cardiovascular Medicine

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