A significant proportion of patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction have persistent impairment of microvascular blood flow despite successful reperfusion of epicardial vessels. Microvascular dysfunction has been associated with larger infarct size, increased predisposition to ventricular arrhythmias, heart failure, cardiogenic shock, recurrent myocardial infarction, and death. It remains unclear whether this association is of direct mechanistic significance or whether the microcirculatory injury is an epiphenomenon and a manifestation of greater ischemic insult to the myocardium. Although several potential mechanisms have been proposed for the microvascular dysfunction, distal microembolization during mechanical reperfusion is likely to be an important contributor. Consequently, there has been increasing interest in the concept of adjunctive mechanical thrombectomy to improve outcomes in primary percutaneous coronary intervention. Until recently, randomized trials of thrombectomy and distal protection devices during primary percutaneous coronary intervention have provided conflicting results with no definitive evidence for efficacy. The recently published Thrombus Aspiration During Percutaneous Coronary Intervention in Acute Myocardial Infarction Study has rekindled the interest in this area. This trial is the largest randomized study of a thrombectomy device published to date and demonstrates that adjunctive treatment with aspiration thrombectomy during primary percutaneous coronary intervention improves surrogate and clinical end points. The aim of the present report is to review the evidence to date on the role of mechanical thrombectomy and embolic protection in native coronary arteries during primary percutaneous coronary intervention.
- Distal protection devices
- Myocardial infarction
- Percutaneous coronary intervention
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)